03 Sep Your turn – connect the dots
You may be curious about a particular trait that you have and therefore you want to be honest with yourself, dig up a little courage and connect some dots. That’s totally fine. You will likely learn something along the way. Or maybe you repeat a pattern of behavior that does not serve you (for example, you always choose controlling partners) and you’re not sure why. Or maybe you can’t stop worrying about what your friend said to you Saturday night and you don’t know why.
In this exercise you are to challenge yourself to dig deep and find something that either makes you sad, vulnerable or upset about yourself or your life. Or, again, maybe a pattern of behavior you’d like to change. (We know – this is not called The Happy Post for a reason.) The goal is to bring a little happiness into your life by understanding something about yourself that lifts a burden, heals a wound, changes a pattern or opens your heart.
So come up with an event from your past, a behavior, or a strong feeling you have over and over. Because you will need to connect the dots. Once you’ve identified what it is, write it down, or think clearly about it. Where were you? What happened? How did you feel? How did others respond? Really work through what happens or happened and how you felt/feel. And then think about those feelings and how they affect you to this day. Think about the story of the nanny – to this day the woman felt abandoned, lost, hurt. Those feelings helped her understand that she is not to blame for what happened.
By thinking about the experience or behavior and how it made you feel in the past, and how it likely makes you feel today, you have brought those feelings to surface. This may not be easy. Hang in there. See if these questions and prompts below help you.
The event I’m recalling makes me feel __________________________
Through this experience I imagined that I was ________________________
I feel ________________________ about myself because of this event
When I think about this event now, I feel _____________________________
Today, I am reminded of these feelings when I ____________________
Or, when someone else _________________________
If I could go back in time, I would _____________________________________
What else comes up as you imagine this event and the feelings around it? _____________________________________________________________________
Okay, did a lightbulb go off for you? Did you connect any dots? Did you experience insight? No worries if you are struggling. Heck, you may not have anything come up!
The purpose of this sub post has been for you to connect the dots between who you are today and your past. In the process, you may have felt some old feelings pop up, and maybe you were able to apply those feelings and the past experience to who you are today. Like the story of the girl watching her beloved nanny move away, she learned that those awful feelings of loneliness and rejection and sadness really weren’t about who she was as a little girl – they were feelings in a moment that a.) were quite natural and b.) result from the poor actions of adults who did not consider the impact the sudden loss of her nanny would have on her. And she doesn’t have to feel hurt or rejected or poorly about herself anymore because she has learned, by doing that exercise, that she should not take things personally – that her nanny moving away was about the nanny’s life situation, not because of anything the little girl did or that the little girl was flawed in some way.
Next, you will make a plan (if you choose).
If you were to challenge yourself to explain the feeling you feel most of the time, what would it be?