Finding the bless in the Mess! Negative experiences can become templates for living with better understandings of who we are and what we can be.


Over the years I have read many a self-help book that advocated for being in the “now”. Although I feel there is great merit  in acknowledging and celebrating every moment you have, I also feel that the past and it’s lessons both good and bad are incredibly meaningful. My career would not have been as successful if I did not have the plethora of stories I refer to about my grandmother, grandfather, and mother. I have many memories of both negative and positive experiences. Discovering how to use our pasts to guide and empower us can be tricky. Our culture has  evolved into one that spends time looking for who is to blame for our inadequacies. Often times people spend years in therapy or going to workshops to try to discover who or what has made them unhappy. I am all for trying to heal trauma and unfortunate childhood experiences, but the art of reframing them into a model for resiliency is a far greater gift. Negative experiences can become templates for living with better understandings of who we are and what we can be. Unfortunately I feel it is much easier to use parents, siblings, spouses, or co-workers to corroborate reasons why we don’t live our lives to the fullest. We identify “them” as the culprits that have created our inadequacies, and as a result the storyline becomes our reality. I spent many hours being at odds with my mother and how she parented and who she choose as my stepfather. If only I had been aware of how I was wasting precious moments of my life discussing what essentially could not be changed. My saving grace became the work I chose. I became acutely aware of how the perceptions of my past clouded my judgment and how it often made me anxious. I can still fall into some of the “painful past” dialogue when I forget that I can use my past to reinforce how I deal with the present. I have often called this “ finding the bless in the mess”. It is rare to find someone who reached adulthood without having  a person in their life that was not dealing with a full deck. In fact I have met some incredibly successful individuals that have survived families that make living in an insane asylum seem like a walk in the park. None of us is given the choice of who will be our family of origin. So it is up to us to learn to shape our lives in the most authenticate way possible, by recalling, reclaiming and recasting our experiences to help serve us not shame us.

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6 thoughts on “Finding the bless in the Mess! Negative experiences can become templates for living with better understandings of who we are and what we can be.

  1. I’m 61 have found bless in the mess in the past and thought I had the template right – but Hey life throws some curlies and sometimes its hard to find the bless. Believe it or not at my age I am still struggling to understand who I am and who I can be!!

  2. Great post…life is messy and I like it that way, not for the hard times… but the survival along the way. I am guilty of wasting time through complaining and I try to become more aware and stop myself when I start to go there.
    Have a super holiday weekend.
    Take care,
    Lisa

  3. “Unfortunately I feel it is much easier to use parents, siblings, spouses, or co-workers to corroborate reasons why we don’t live our lives to the fullest. We identify “them” as the culprits that have created our inadequacies, and as a result the storyline becomes our reality.”
    .. maybe it comes from having to get permission to do what we want to?
    the first part of my life I was Made to listen to people who put them selves up over me
    so as I grew up the uniforms change but the limits they set are the same
    .. maybe they are in collusion to make sure I don’t fly the coop?
    If I ever figured out I could do it by myself I’d be free of them all.
    Having outlived everyone I finally got free and found out how much Fun it is to break rules!
    If I don’t want to make the bed, as you say, there are no bed-checkers!
    I live for myself now .. I’m “wearing my party pants” 😉

    “Discovering how to use our pasts to guide and empower us can be tricky.”
    that line reminds me of your story about walking down the same street, falling in the same hole and still asking, “how’d that happen?”
    “a definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result”

  4. Absolutely! I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the wonderful events of my past (which weren’t always so wonderful at the time). What we take away is what’s important.

  5. Right on! And for many of us this lesson comes with time and maturity. But that is another one of the really cool things about humor–it enables us to transform a negative experience into a positive one–and in so doing, transforms us from victim to victor. Your stories are such a great example of this.

  6. So true…yet so elusive for most people. At 35 years old, I am just getting this lesson now. Thank you for being such an effective facilitator in your work!!

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