Who Does show up when you do? The question sounds obvious and somewhat provocative, but I think it has many layers to it. I have noticed that often in times of stress, the 9 year-old me enters the room, when the 60-something me, who is so much more mature, should be taking her place!
When we are young, we don’t have the language or sensitivity to explain our feelings. If we feel hurt, we react! If we are angry, we react! If we are scared…well, you know, we react! That is how we “show up” in an upsetting situation. The behavior may look like a tantrum, or acting like a 2 year-old. A toddler doesn’t have the language to explain their hurt, anger or fear. And we expect nothing more from them. But as adults, we do have knowledge of our language, can use it to express our feelings and have the ability to take the time to consider the outcome of our reactions, and the consequences.
Recognizing that thinking and speaking as a child holds me back, I wanted to approach things like an adult, but admittedly, there are times when old hurts, old reactions and old behaviors enter the situation. It is at those times, when I am most vulnerable, that the 9 year-old me shows up! How to push the 9 year-old Ellyn to the side, out of the frame of the picture, was my challenge, and I brought it to my daughter. Emily is a Leadership and Career Coach, and she trains other coaches, as well.
Lamenting that I was frustrated with a particular situation, Emily pointed out to me that we had discussed that very same subject many times before, and that I hadn’t made any changes in my perspective, regardless of how many times I wanted to do so. Like the adage, “if you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting.” In order to feel differently, I would actually have to see things differently. I believed this was within my power, but I needed help to achieve it!
Emily introduced me to Robbi, a Life Coach, who reinforced that looking at things in a new (for me) way, changing my lens, was more than possible! The process would include recognizing who I am, my qualities and my essence; that by “looking at me being me” would help me reach my goals, and could open an incredible new world for me…and I loved that! She pointed out that since I come from a loving and caring place, I can trust that my behavior will always be, at it core, loving and caring. That helped me feel less of a need to “examine” everything I did. I was certain I wasn’t intentionally hurting anybody by my actions. And that any changes I wanted to make were to enhance my world, and would never be negative towards others. The energy that gave me was positive, powerful and quite radiant! My desire is to use that new-found energy to create so much more than I ever thought possible, and it is so exciting to look ahead to what I can achieve. I am flexing new muscles, and not my biceps or glutes. These are the muscles of recognizing that like me, others can change the lens through which they are looking, that I don’t have to react with old emotions such as guilt or panic, and that anxiety may actually be a bell that rings to tell me something new is happening, and even if I have to buckle my seatbelt, it may be fine!
The freedom to accomplish so much is incredibly empowering! It feels as if there is little I cannot do. Most importantly, the 9 year-old Ellyn is happy she can finally remain “forever young,” and that I don’t feel so vulnerable that I need her protection. She is no longer associated with my negative or childish behavior. I now visualize her on the sidelines watching the adult me take charge of my life, stay in the moment, set my goals and tick them off as they are achieved. Strongly I hear her voice cheering for me…stating it is never too late to grow, never too late to achieve that which fulfills me, and never too late to reach out to those who can help me recognize that growing older may actually be accompanied by growing wiser!