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Walking The Fence of Life: the legacy of parents

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Article by Sue Lester

“I forgive you for not being the mother I wanted you to be”, are powerful healing words from Louise Hay. There are so many mother-in-law jokes and stories in our society there is an automatic negative association with the label. Yet every mother-in-law is, of course, someone’s mother. Although is it not socially acceptable to joke about mothers, every feeling of frustration, hurt, anger, rejection and guilt behind the mother-in-law jokes can be equally present with mothers.

 

Our relationships with our mothers (including birth mothers, grandmothers, aunts, older sisters and stepmothers) shape our identity and self-esteem in childhood, and often throughout our adult life. Significantly, the relationships also influence how we parent our own children, and even if we want children of our own.

 

Did you ever walk on a fence or wall as a child?  Experienced the challenge of scrambling up, being high in the air seeing a different perspective, the thrill of bravery and fear as you advanced gingerly across all by yourself, perhaps wobbling in the middle section, then the relief and sense of achievement at reaching your goal?  Or the disappointment and embarrassment of falling off, then the determination of getting up to try again until you got it right? 

 

At first, it’s so much easier if you have a supportive hand to help you get started, to hold your hand until you get your balance and to encourage you to walk along knowing there is help within reach should you waver, and then someone to celebrate and praise your achievement at the end.

 

Some mothers (& fathers) do that for you instinctively.

Some mothers allow their fears to throw you off balance.

Some mothers will hold your hand, but not let go, even when you ask.

Some mothers will give you just one chance to do it right, then you must stop.

Some mothers entertain their friends with your falls.

Some mothers are never impressed at how well you walk fences.

Some mothers won’t let you walk on fences.

Some mothers want to walk the fence for you.

Some mothers don’t care what you do, as long as you are no trouble.

 

Think back to your childhood and consider, then take a look at how you walk the ‘fences’ (or not) in your current life.  Is there a pattern there?  Are you brave enough to climb up, or do you spend a great deal of time just looking at it?  Do you tell yourself how dangerous it is, how you’ve never been good at walking along fences, and what if you fall?!  Do you have your safety net and support team in place – in both your business and personal life? 

 

Do you keep climbing higher and higher fences, but it’s never enough to fill the void inside, and get the praise, or even just acknowledgement, you’ve desired your whole life?  Are you successfully walking fences without even noticing how well you do it, and how many people can’t do what you do so effortlessly? 

 

And when you fall off, as we all do from time to time, do you get straight back up, or do you take that as a sign you are a failure and not meant to ever walk fences?  Do you stand on any fence you can find, yelling out, “Look at me!”, or do you only walk fences when it’s dark and no one can see you...?

 

Lots of questions, and of course this isn’t about blaming your mother (or father) for your current success or lack of it. Only you are responsible for that. Really! Your mother did the best she could with the resources she had at the time, and whether that was enough, is beside the point now you are an adult. The point is whether you can use this awareness to change your own patterns, and start getting more of the results you want in your life right now. 

 

Are you willing to let go of the expectation of other people changing and being able to fulfil your needs?  To let go of the anger, sadness, fear, hurt and guilt?  The only person you can control is you.  The only person you can genuinely change is you. The only person who can fulfil your needs is you – your thoughts, feelings, actions and the meaning you give to events determine your level of success and happiness in every moment of every day.  How liberating is that?!

 

And have you noticed that Life is simply a series of moments, so the more moments you can be happy, the happier your life overall will be. No matter how overwhelmed or anxious or miserable you are right now, break that huge unhappy picture into pixels, and change just one at a time. Every little change is progress. That’s it.

 

p.s.  If you’d like help getting the confidence to climb onto a fence, or to find more exciting fences, call or email me, Sue Lester, Head Transition Coach at Growing Content Pty Ltd on sue@growingcontent.com.au – after all, I’m a Catalyst of Change, mindset change that is.  www.growingcontent.com.au

 

16 Jan 2012

Last Update: 17 Jan 2012

Article/Information supplied by Sue Lester

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.

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