It was a tough week and a beautiful week.
We (finally) had a celebration service for Danny (my dad). Perhaps needless to say, it was intense. So many memories – good and bad. So many emotions – sweet and painful.
So much to continue to process – all that happened back then and all that’s going on now.
One of the most challenging things for me to grasp and acknowledge and process and hold is how hard parts of my childhood actually were. It’s even hard for me to write that here. My brain quickly wants to denounce that. To point out that so many people had much harder circumstances than I did (which is true).
Whilst it is true that many people unfortunately endured much more than I did as a child, it is also true that at least parts of my experience were hard. Way hard. I didn’t feel safe. Many times, I wasn’t safe. Both parents “left” me, at least to some degree.
I think my brain minimizes this in some weird attempt to keep me safer now.
Another way my brain works to keep me safe is by scrutinizing my circumstances, situations, and relationships, so I can be prepared for anything dangerous. This is part of our “negativity bias” that makes our brains Velcro for the bad and Teflon for the good.
This drags me down.
Left to its own devices, my negativity bias makes me replay harsh comments or real or imagined slurs over and over (and over). My negativity bias helps me read your face for displeasure with me. My negativity bias keeps me in a downward spiral or negative loop of what’s wrong, what’s wrong, what’s wrong (usually, again, about your displeasure with me).
But when I mind my own business – when I stay on my side of the street and pay more attention to myself than I do to others – I can get out of those negativity bias loops. When I keep the focus on myself, as I was first told in Al-Anon nearly forty years ago and as I have to work to remember over and over (and over) now, I get less hooked by those imagined (or real) disappointments and slurs. I can show up more fully, more real, more whole, and more loving.
When I mind my own business, it goes better. I go better.
It also maybe helps me admit and own that my childhood was hard, at least for me.
The old body trauma that is spewing out of me these days during my body work is also convincing me that it was hard. It had to come from somewhere. (More on this at some later point, if you want to hear.)
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!
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