Many women enter my room describing how they hit a roadblock in their journey through life in which they feel joyless. Life has become vanilla. Day in and day out they go through their routines by switching from one hat to the other: mother, daughter, aunt, wife, sister, friend, and employee, but no longer find fulfillment in any of the roles.
This happens when a woman becomes the actor in the show rather than the director; she is the effect of her current life, rather than the cause.
Recently I had a 70+-year-old client who was acting out the same old patterns of behaviour but expecting her surroundings to change. She has been a high-performer executive throughout her career. She was highly demanding towards her teams. After retiring, she was ready to have quality time with her adult children but felt she did not get the attention she deserved. She would burst into anger when her children would not act as she expected them to, such as spending their free time with her.
Truth is her relationship problems with her children didn’t start since she retired. She like many clients, has suppressed childhood wounds which manifest as the need to control her external environment. These controlling behaviours were always present, but her children were too young to notice. Her corporate career reinforced these patterns, thoughts and behaviours from childhood, rather than forcing her to reflect on them. She had viewed her retirement being much different than what she was now experiencing, and it forced her to seek help in building a new vision of what it means to be a successful mom.
We re-engineered her thought patterns and allowed her to create small incremental, yet meaningful changes in her life. We did this by facing the reality of life as a parent: 93% of the time we spend with our kids in our lifetime will be spent by age 18.
She needed to acknowledge opportunities had passed and now it was about making the best out of the time she has left with them as a family. It was about being grateful to have any time with them; whatever time they could spare for her right now.
Instead of getting angry after each visit, she made a conscious effort to be grateful and present for those new opportunities:
- she would celebrate their upcoming visit by cooking their favourite dishes.
- she would go shopping some days beforehand to buy a gift for them that she knows they would enjoy and she would make sure to wrap it herself with a love note written on it.
- when together at the dinner table, she would play some background music she knew they would like.
These changes were both incredibly empowering to her and unique to her. Once she saw the positive results, it was easy to form a thought habit loop. She does not need to control anyone or anything to find happiness and joy in her family.
Acknowledging the truth about your childhood without judging yourself or others is a necessary skill to acquire; to control your mindset is to choose happiness. Resetting your thinking patterns with a personalized approach for you is my way of bringing back your joy. We do this together through my intensive 3-month program.
You are welcome to contact me if a similar transformational journey is something you crave.