Suitcase

I’m tired. I am desperately tired of watching people that carry wounds from their childhood into adulthood. They cover themselves in shame like a cloak. A raggedy patchwork cloak that they had no hand in making. And yet they let it cover them completely. Worse they let it define them and their future. I am no different, I wore the cloak of shame for too many years. Before I realized that it was not mine to wear.

I mistakenly put so much effort working to hide it, that I never looked to see if it was even something that I was responsible for. Instead I threw layers on top so that it wouldn’t be as visible. The reality is though for those of us that are watching closely, it is always visible. We see it in one another. I know that I am able to see it in you, and you can also see it in me. The rips and tears that need to be mended.

I worked for a time with women who were trying to get back on their feet. I loved the work, but was saddened by the lack of self worth that some of these women had. I could feel the heaviness in their hearts, the need to simply feel loved and accepted. Such a basic need, which should be a birthright to all.

Our parents are no different than us. They are making their way through life carrying their experiences with them. If they came from abuse, neglect, addiction issues, poverty they have wounds of their own that may not have been healed. Healing takes incredible effort, self reflection, strength, willingness and skill.

Unless they are aware that there are options for them to explore to take their power back, they may not even see a way out. They will just default to the mechanisms that they know, and not try anything new. They will live a life of numbing the pain, blaming others or circumstances for their problems. Never realizing their own power.

Relationships with parents can be complicated. We want their love. We deserve their love. The unfortunate reality for some is that they are wounded and unable to provide us with what we need. They may barely be holding their own heads above water, and have nothing to offer us in support. That may be their reality, and they may not see a way out. Some people live their entire lives this way.

It pains me to see those that keep going back for more, looking to have their needs met by these parents. Desperately wanting the missing nurturing, love and acceptance met. The reality is, the parents may be in too much pain themselves to have anything to offer. We need to recognize that we are more than capable of providing it to ourselves.

I carried shame because my Father left us. I saw him as a weak and cowardly man. Now I cannot fathom the strength it must have taken him to acknowledge that he was not capable of overcoming his problem, and wanted to shelter us from being dragged through it. I realized that I had no shame to carry, and that he had carried his long enough. For me to let mine go, it would free him and equally important it freed me. 

We have to let go of our unconscious hope to feel seen and loved by them. We need to see them for who they are, not who we need them to be. We can feel empathy for them, but we need to recognize when they are incapable of being whom we thought they were. They cannot meet your needs, as nobody ever met theirs.

Our upbringing is just a beginning. We are responsible for the rest of the story.

At some point as we reach adulthood we need to separate our luggage from theirs. We need to consciously unpack what is not ours and determine what it is that we want to travel with. We are not responsible for carrying anyone else’s dirty laundry.

In order to travel the life of our dreams, we need to start evaluating what it is that we are packing in our suitcases. Get rid of the dirty laundry, and decide for ourselves what we travel with.

We have everything in our power to lighten the load and choose our own journey.

I think it is time we had the conversation, and free ourselves to carry on with our own journey.

Love and Light

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