This sense has been a lifetime in coming. Mainly because I spent a lot of my life mad at people. And who can blame me? I was Susie Codependent – forever controlling, cajoling, managing, and manipulating. I thought it was my job to force reality every step of the way … just to be on the safe side.
So when life didn’t give me what I wanted, I was mad. That’s what happens when we suffer childhood traumas. (These can be anything from severe bullying to having an addict parent to the illness or death in the family.) We build ourselves tough little cages of steel to live in … and so we suffer.
Mind you, a lot of us were exceptional children. We were the kids who were wise beyond our years, who knew how to cope with any disaster. We were the responsible ones who stayed late helping the teacher after school – usually to avoid the chaos at home. And we were often the tender kids who couldn’t play sports but wrote awesome poems.
This is the gift of severe loss. We have heightened sensitivity, and an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. We have anger – yet we have empathy as well. We feel the pulse of life a little more deeply.
So in adulthood, our work is to take down this jerry-rigged defense system we’ve build around us. And sometimes it takes a real disaster to make that happen.
Losing my daughter and letting go of my former life did the trick for me. Immediately my perspective shifted. I relaxed and have turned the spotlight back on me.
Now these have become my guiding principles. They’re simple, they cost nothing, and they don’t require any ‘doing’. (No, you don’t have to meditate, though that’s always a help.)
- I don’t need to make anyone happy but myself. It’s actually my more important responsibility.
- I really can – and do – say ‘No’ whenever I need to now. The sky doesn’t fall. It’s great!
- No one has to march to my tune but me. Everyone else has a right to live their life EXACTLY the way they want. As do I. If that means we need to go separate ways, so be it. It’s just part of God’s plan.
- Things usually work out just fine. Once you’ve been thru the worst thing that can happen and you emerge better for it … you learn to go with what comes. Really, truly. Things do work out.
- Stop worrying. Turns out worrying doesn’t actually help – and it just produces a lot of agita. So I try not to spend time there anymore.
- We can’t force reality. What a shocker! So thought I could. Kind of hilarious when you think about it.
- In the end, all we’ve got is love. Turns out accumulating stuff is highly overrated and somewhat lonely. But love really does heal all wounds.