We have a lifetime of events that imprint us and those imprints are both emotional and psychological. We have the capacity to influence how it goes, what the feelings are, what the words are, and how we allow them to influence us as we take the next steps in our lives.
Build the Strength Within is the result of my life of work as a person first and as a trained professional secondarily. Yes, my training is vital but without the influence of my parents and the family that is mine, I would have a very different reality than the one that is mine. I was taught early on to believe in myself, to be smart, and to be kind. Interestingly, my mother and father introduced me to the idea that I am the one in charge of what I think, how I feel, and how I behave. I did not always believe them. Especially during my adolescence, I had a strong commitment to the belief that my mom and dad ruled my life and everything I did, all my options. I refused to see it as guidance and therefore was a consistent rebel. Even during times when I wanted to be cooperative, I found myself fighting–because it had become my style of operation. Whatever healthy option they put in front of me, I wanted to do it differently. I was wedded to the wrong pathway, invested in the notion that I wanted independence. I had no idea that interdependence was an option and that cooperation would get me where I really wanted to land.
Building upon my own early beginnings, I grew to appreciate the variables that life presents as a matter of the natural course of things. When I taught adolescent psychology during my time serving as a university faculty member, I re-learned as I taught the material. Truth is that rebellion during adolescence is part of the developmental assignment. When parents continue to guide and parent effectively, the rebellious teens come full circle and embrace the values and the parents who introduced them. No need to fear that all is lost when a kid is 17 and has a questionable attitude–hang in there and continue to believe in your own inner strength and pass it along to your offspring, there is a long term investment taking shape and it has a long term payoff that is priceless.
I’m reflective about all of this especially during the months of October and November. My mom was born in October, my parents were married in November, my dad passed away in November. Painful. In fact, 19 years ago today, I spent the day in agony with my mom as we were bedside with my father as he struggled with the transition between this life and the next. He died midafternoon. My mother was so completely heartbroken that I was terrified that I would lose her in a short span of time because she wouldn’t be able to bear it. I recall distinctly how dizzy, floaty, weird, overwhelmed, and icky I felt when we realized he had taken that last breath and was gone. I was certain that I would never recover, I could not see tomorrow. The idea of future opportunities simply evaporated.
None of it was true however.
Life does go on, we do indeed survive. We survive all sorts of traumas, heartbreaks, disasters, and things that make us feel awful. This is part of the life journey. A full life is one that is the real deal, the experience of the full range of human emotions and experiences that give us the ability to know genuine happiness because we have known genuine sad, to appreciate the joy of love because we have felt the loneliness of believing we were without it.
It is our inner strength that gets us through everything, every single thing. It is our inner strength that allows us to have faith in something beyond our own self. It is our inner strength that brings us here today–ready, eager, prepared, and invested in creating a life that means something.
I cried yesterday as I recalled the moments spent with my mom and dad all these years ago, remembering how sad it was, remembering his Memorial Mass, remembering my eulogy, my mother’s tears, and her dozen years of adjustment to life minus his live presence.
I awakened today touching my own inner strength and feeling the impact that these lovely people that I was blessed to have as parents had upon me then and continue to have upon me now. I am capable of anything I set my mind to–any good thing that I invest in achieving. This is true for you as well.
I’ve written Build the Strength Within to place it onto your hands and guide you to a tangible pathway that I invite you to step onto and map the live you crave.