A Happy Ending

I started writing a novel when I was in the eleventh grade. It was about a teenage girl named Angie (The name came from the Rolling Stones ballad.) who falls for a twenty-something man with a drug addiction. She has a difficult home life and eagerly accepts his invitation to run away with him. She believes that with enough love she can cure him of his addiction. She soon learns that love is not enough, and that she cannot change him. She begins to seek a way out of her predicament.

That’s where I stopped writing. My interests went in other directions (probably a boy), and the notebook was stored away. Years later, while cleaning out the closet in my old bedroom I found the notebook among some others. I read a few pages and contemplated what I should do with it. I don’t know why, but I was afraid someone else would find it and read it. I don’t remember thinking it was terrible. It was more about keeping something so personal to myself, or not wanting to be judged. I decided to trash it.

I think about that story every so often. I regret throwing it away because it would be fun to read it again. In many ways it was my story. I never dated a drug addict, but I did run away with a guy, the year before I created Angie. The character shared my gloom and my idealism. Thinking back on it now, I realized that Angie learned something that I must have known but had not yet internalized. We cannot love another into being better, and that we can only change ourselves.

Its easy to see this in retrospect, after many years of relationships and self-examination. As a survivor of childhood abuse, I had to do a lot of work on myself to find acceptance and healing. I tried to find it through others for too many years. I am grateful for teachers, mentors, coaches and friends who have helped me along the way. Simply stated, I learned that acceptance and healing could only come from within me. I had to let go of guilt, anger and self-doubt and embrace the person that God created me to be.

I also had to forgive. I had to forgive my abusers and those whom I thought complicit in the abuse. I also had to forgive myself for being a victim and for all the failed attempts at trying to find what I needed in the wrong places. Victims of abuse always blame themselves, for being vulnerable and not fighting back, and for not telling. We must be able to forgive ourselves before we can truly forgive others and complete the healing process.

One of the reasons I am grateful to be a professional coach is the opportunity to help others accept and love themselves. Very few of my clients are victims of childhood abuse, but they have other issues — parents who were too harsh and too neglectful, unhealthy relationships, low self-esteem, imposter syndrome …. Through coaching, I can help them to discover the amazing person that they are within, the wisdom and passions that are too often buried underneath negative self-talk and lack of confidence.

Unfortunately, there are very few people in this world who live a charmed life. We all have family-of-origin issues. We all struggle at some time with upsetting relationships or self-doubt. The good news is that we do not have to stay in the gloom. We can make the personal choice to be different, to be happy.

What kind of life do you want for yourself? What barriers are keeping you from having that kind of life? What are you willing to invest to find healing and wholeness? The first step in having the life you want is to name that which holds you back and decide what you want to do with it. You have the power to overcome victimization, negative self-image and doubt. You can choose to be happy.

Contact me for a free consultation to find out if coaching is right for you.

A New Year, A New You?

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. They are fine for people who believe in them, particularly if they have the perseverance to stay with them throughout the year. I prefer on-going self-awareness and evaluation that leads to improvement and habit-change throughout the year.

Still, approaching a new year does cause us to reflect on the past year, and think about things we would like to be different in the coming year. I offer here a few questions that may help you with this kind of self-reflection:

  • What happened in my life this past year that gave me the most energy or joy? How can I create more of these kinds of happenings in the coming year?
  • What in the past year has drained me of energy? How can I have less of these kinds of experiences in the next year?
  • What did I accomplish this past year that gave my life more meaning?
  • What do I want to do next year that will give my life more meaning?
  • What did I do this year to help someone else have a better life?
  • What would I like to do next year to make the world a better place?
  • Of what do I need to let go next year to create something new or be more focused on what I really want?
  • What can I do (or not do) each day/week/month to be more self-aware and more engaged in the kind of life I want for myself?
  • What wrongs do I need to forgive, or bridges do I need to build, to have better relationships in the coming year?
  • If I could accomplish only one thing next year, what would it be?

If coaching is one of the things you would like to consider doing for yourself, contact me for a free, no-obligation, no-pressure consultation.