In this very honest story from Jesse Monreal she talks about her experience as a child of an alcoholic and how she didn’t want to be anything like her parent. I remember this fear very well and I know my sister felt the same way.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
What I’ve learnt from 20+ years of self-development is that it really doesn’t matter what we say, but what we do. We can say the words “I’m not going to be like my parents”, but it’s not enough. Much like when we say “I’m going to lose weight”, and still finding ourselves eating whatever we like and not exercising 3 months later. Or maybe “I’m not going to be late anymore” but then carry on being late.
There is something to be said for stating what we vs what we don’t want. For example, I’m going to be my own person and learn from my parents. I’m going to fit into those new jeans I bought by next month. Next time I meet my friends I’m going to be there 10 minutes early.
If like Jesse and myself you’ve felt different, odd or that something’s wrong with you then I would highly recommend going to an Al-Anon meeting. If there isn’t one local you can join their online Facebook group. There is nothing like connecting with people that have experienced something you have. This was one of my biggest eye openers in my journey, after going a couple of times I realised something. I wasn’t alone, there were others just like me, actually there were a lot of people like me.
It’s very easy to pick at ourselves and tell ourselves off for what we have and haven’t done. When has that ever really helped. Isn’t it more constructive to offer ourselves some reflection and help, with maybe a shaking of compassion thrown in? Just like we would if it was a friend or family member. How can you choose to do that in a way that works for you?
Tried and Tested Suggestions
- Write down/record on an audio/draw/sing whatever the problem is – whatever you’re giving yourself a hard time about (I purposely didn’t say spend time thinking about it, because you need to get out of your head)
- State how you feel, e.g. “I feel really angry, disappointed, hurt, sad, frustrated” – this helps us accept what’s going on for us in the moment
- Say “I understand how you feel, I get it, that must be tough”, or whatever reassuring and empathic words work for you. Reassure yourself it’s OK to not feel great all the time. You’re a human being with imperfections not a robot
- Literally give yourself a hug, ground yourself and just accept a hug from yourself. Help make yourself feel safe. (OK I know that sounds weird, but trust me, what harm can it do?!)
- Get some perspective. It’s so easy for us to be serious, we don’t want to minimise the importance of this one thing we’re angry/frustrated/upset about.
- When it feels right, reflect on it and notice what you could do different next time (you may want to look at my practical exercise about getting some distance between you and the problem here) <INSERT LINK ONCE CREATED>
- Next time, do it differently. It may take a bit of time to finesse but if you don’t start it won’t ever change. Give yourself a pat on the back!
Jesse talks about doing the best we can with what we know, I hear this a lot and I agree with it to a point. We can’t know or act differently if we don’t have the knowledge. When should that ever stop anyone. I think this is one of those things that can be a bit of a get out for our behaviour. Most of the time, we do know when we are feeling, acting or experiencing something that isn’t right. We can choose to do something about it, we may not have the skills and knowledge to make the changes but we can ask.
Let go of fear that’s holding you back
Of course it may not change overnight, but I think demonstrating a level of effort goes a long way. Mostly fear gets in the way, yes we do the best we can with all the fear, baggage and whatever else we carry with us. But that doesn’t mean we are doing the best we can if we were to push ourselves, ask for help and find some courage to be brave. We are capable of so much more than we often give ourselves credit for.
You don’t need me to tell you that you can change whatever you like, you know that. What you may want is some support and motivation doing it, to feel like someone gets how you feel and gives you hope and the inspiration to get it.