Your Family’s Story May Need a New Plot
A few short years ago, I endured the pain, the upheaval, and the trauma of ripping down a lifetime of walls and facades I’d called home. I came out from behind the protections of a lonely existence raw and exposed but feeling the cool air of freedom. What I didn’t realize at the time was I’d barely begun the process of learning to embrace my vulnerability and connect on the deepest level possible with other humans. I’d exhumed and vanquished my own demons, but I had generations of familial ones left to conquer and banish, not only for my own lifetime, but for my successors.
My own walls had been built on a generations-old framework of familial lies and broken logic. I’d grown up believing it was the only way to be both safe and successful. The beliefs I inherited said vulnerability was a weakness, and strength could only be found by standing alone, and accepting help from no one. It took me a long time to realize my family members spent their lives shoring up crumbling ground, hiding their faces from the world, and stumbling through life sad, lonely, and alone.
In some ways, I think my parents knew they were living lies. My mom tried desperately and unsuccessfully for acceptance from her own family. No matter what she did, it was never enough for those who, by all rights should have loved her for herself, and not for her ability to be who they thought she should be. She even tried to force her fractured logic on my sister and me, trying to mold us into what she mistakenly believed would gain us the acceptance she never found.
Too Stubborn to Fit In
Unfortunately for her, my sister and I were both stubborn, and though it took me a long time to figure out, disinclined to fit anyone’s mold but one of our own design. To be honest, neither of us actually fit a mold at all, as we both at some point realized the landscape is constantly changing, so why settle in to any one way of being?
Over the years, my sister has become more set in her ways, partially because of illness, and partially because of hanging on to old hurts, and perceived misdeeds on the part of our mother. I, on the other hand, have become less rigid; more adaptable. I learned the hard way the only one I hurt or hold back by trying to fit in or settle into some kind of mold was me. The more I learned to roll with the punches, the easier, and more enjoyable life became.
That’s not to say I don’t still have many demons to put to rest, or many old habits which are still keeping me from soaring. I’ve taken the first, imperative step in recognizing those demons exist. In admitting they’re there, I gave myself permission to face them instead of spending the rest of my life in one of my family’s favorite pastimes; ignoring the demons within, in hopes they’d go away. Spoiler alert: not only do they not go away, they dig in deeper, and become more persistent at holding you back.
Making Friends With Your Demons
Demons are no different than anyone else. They want to be acknowledged and treated like they’re meaningful. That doesn’t mean they actually want to hang around, making your life miserable. Once you’ve acknowledged their existence, and thanked them for their service, they’re usually more than happy to skip off onto another adventure themselves. Chances are, they long for freedom as much as you do!
I’ve learned to make friends with some of my demons while realizing others need to be banished forever. The ones that want me to stay the same isolated, friendless, unchanging woman I was until my mid-40’s weren’t the first to go, but they were the most welcome. They’ve left a few of their lesser brethren around to remind me of the unworthiness they preached but I am getting better at telling them they’ve overstayed their welcome.
I’m not entirely sure where in my family line the idea we needed to conform, and never stand out came from. Along with the idea that asking for help was a weakness, it’s long overstayed its welcome. Sadly, both are relics in many families, and demons a lot of my peers have had to conquer in order to reach the levels of success and sanity they’ve been able to achieve. My own incentive actually came from my daughter who, though she still exhibits some of the familial traits, recognized early on they were more of a hindrance than a help.
Learning to Accept Help
It’s far easier to see where something isn’t working from the outside looking in, and my inability to ask for, and accept help is no exception. My daughter battles the same demon but pointed it out in me (and kicks my butt about it every chance she gets) long before she recognized the same traits in herself and began her own exorcisms. Nowadays, we are happy to point out instances of backsliding in each other; but only in the most loving ways.
I’ve also learned some of the habit changing requires help from the outside. You may not realize something is holding you back until someone points out your self-sabotaging behaviors. Even then, you may need a few more objective observations from people whose opinions you value before you realize it’s time to take action, and initiate more positive habits.
Sometimes those positive habits seem to come out of left field. You add something to your daily routine with one intention in mind, only to find it actually sets off a chain reaction of positive results, often when you’re looking vainly for the results you sought in the first place. It isn’t that the desired results aren’t there. You’ve simply set your initial expectations too high. If you ask me, that’s your brain and those unworthiness demons doing their best to maintain the status quo. Nowadays, I call that a rut, and it ain’t a place where I want to park my butt and hang for awhile. That’s for sure!
I may have a long way to go to alter many of the patterns I fell into out of convenience and deep-seated conditioning, but I no longer fight change the way I used to. Instead, I embrace the opportunity to not only learn, but unearth new ways of Being while releasing the old which held me back.
Starting Each Day With a Grateful Heart
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful for change, whether it’s thrust upon me, or I simply float into the next experience.
- I’m grateful for my daughter who showed me the old ways are definitely NOT the best ones.
- I’m grateful for my family who has shown me over and over how I do not want to live out the rest of my life.
- I’m grateful for meditation where I get some of the epiphanies that lead me to a better, more fulfilling life.
- I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, love, knowledge, change, new experiences, opportunities, motivation, healthy habits, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward