When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change – Wayne Dyer.
A couple of years ago I ran some courses for Relate ‘The Relationship People’. The course was to help separated parents to be able to communicate better. Week after week, the people who attended were angry, so incredibly angry that my first job was to get them to clear that anger so they could focus on the reason they were there in the first place, being that they needed to learn how to get along with the other parent for the sake of their children. I recall one week, this man was spewing out about how much he hated his ex, what an awful person she was, his anger was tangible and soon the whole class was feeling and experiencing his anger which ignited their anger. Before the whole class erupted I managed to get them all to calm down and asked if they would consider shelving their anger for a few minutes and try something new. At this stage, most of them were willing to try anything, so they agreed.
I asked them how much they loved their children and what their children meant to them. Their faces changed as they all started sharing sweet anecdotes, little things their children did, how cute they were, how smart they were, how much they admired them, many of them even said that ‘they would do anything for them’. Not only did the energy in the room change instantly, but it changed their emotional state as well as their body language and facial expressions. The next question I asked was, ‘could you imagine your life without your child(ren)’? A reverberating no sounded through the room. My next statement silenced them completely, ‘do you think that instead of hating your ex so much, you could look past all the hurt, the anger, the sadness, the disappointment, the betrayal, all the bad stuff and look at your ex instead with appreciation and gratitude, because if you had never met them nor been with them, you would not have your precious child(ren) whom you love so much right now? The silence in the room was deafening as what I said seeped down into their minds whilst they processed what I had just said.
You see, I had learned this from my own experience. I was one of those people who hated my ex with such a passion that it consumed me. I was that person who had so much disappointment, sadness, feelings of betrayal, loss and everything else that goes with being in a marriage that you don’t understand, nor were equipped to be in in the first place and that marriage ending. All of this for me turned around when I changed the way I looked at my ex. I will never forget the day when I realised that I had finally forgiven and moved on. When my daughter got married 7 years ago, I had the honour of walking her down the aisle and doing a speech. I had prepared a long speech about how proud I was of her but when I got up behind the podium and as I look into the faces of all the guests, I looked over at my ex and with humility, kindness and gratitude I thanked him for the gifts he had given me….my daughter and my son. In that instant, I knew that I had completely forgiven not only him, but myself as well. Looking past everything that had happened, he was still the loving, generous person he intrinsically was, but the hurt, lack of self worth and self value at the time we were married, manifested in behaviour he was not proud of. Just like I was not proud of my own behaviour back then either. Hurt people hurt people and as I said in a talk I did the other day, a bully and a victim, or an abuser and a victim, are all created in the same way, it’s just the way it manifests that is different. Both come from a lack of self -worth and self-value and both come from a lack of powerlessness.
In fact, all bad behaviour comes from a place of lack……… Lack of self-love, lack of self-worth, lack of self-value, lack of self-respect, lack of self-trust, lack of self-belief and lack of self-acceptance. Every single bit of bad behaviour, i.e. behaviour that we are not proud of, bad relationships, bad money management, excessive drinking, excessive eating, abusing our bodies, hurting ourselves and others, bad parenting, absent parenting, being bullied, being the bully, etc. etc. etc. all come from a place of lack.
People have asked me why I wrote The Relationship Magnet. I wrote it because it is what happens to so many people, 1 in 4 in the UK, 1 in 3 in the USA, 1 in 3 in SA. This is our reality, (it was my reality), it’s what we live with every single day; it’s a wake-up call to what is going on around us, possibly to our friends, family members or colleagues. But, my overall message in my book is one of, it doesn’t have to stay that way, it can change. I am living proof. Your whole life changes when you not only ‘change the way you look at things, but when you change the way you look at yourself, your internal view of who you really are, starting with all those ‘selfies’ I mentioned above.
A few months ago I had a conversation with my ex, I mentioned to him that my book was going to be re-published, his words to me were ‘Debs if this book helps others to prevent the hurt and trauma we went through and how our children were affected and hurt by it, then I am all for it’. More evidence of how our relationships can change when we make that internal shift.
I do hope that you will take this on board, because life becomes so much sweeter when you turn all the yukky bad feelings and bad behaviour on its head.
With much love as always