It’s instinctive and natural for any child to have immeasurable faith and trust on its parents .They can do no wrong. They were our role models and we tried our best to be their replica. But as we grow older and gain more experience and insights about life , sometimes we come to a crossroad and it might be necessary to stop and sort out our thoughts and feelings regarding our parents before we proceed on our chosen path . Beliefs and thought patterns acquired over the years may possibly have to be adjusted or amended. I went through this testing process and I sincerely felt I like to finally share it with you .
My father passed away when I was little and my mother was left to raise my siblings and I. Though my mother loved us in her own way but it was a known fact that she was just waiting to hand over the responsibility of being a parent to someone else and she just wanted to overseer the process. In short she wanted the post of a mother but she was not willing to go through the process and the experience including the ups and downs of being a mother. I was oblivious to this fact at first but as I grew older I became more aware of the absent of warmth in our relationship. Today I do not want to talk about my mother but rather about my deceased father. God bless him.
My father was well educated and a very loving man. He was very caring towards his friends and his relatives. He was known for his generosity towards people. He shared his home and life with some of his friends from his hometown. There was constantly a steady stream of friends and relatives visiting my home when I was young. My father had a heart problem and he knew he had to be more careful with his health. He passed away, barely touching fifty. From then on it was downhill for my siblings and I. We were tossed around from one stressful situation to another. I can’t speak on behalf of my siblings but as far as I was concerned, I was truly emotionally and mentally drained by the time I left my teens. On top of that , I had so much of anger bottled up in me towards the spiraling situation and family members around me. As I grew older .I had an opportunity to work through and sort out all the negative emotions I have kept over the years.
One thing that caught me by surprise was the resentment I had towards my father. For years , I assumed the pain I felt whenever I remembered him, was about how much I missed him and how sad it was that he was not alive to share my success both in my education and career. I was very much shocked when I discovered I was actually suppressing resentment directed towards him. Maybe I refused to acknowledge the resentment much earlier in my life and I camouflaged the feeling to look like pain. It was also possible that I was embarrassed to express anything negative about my father cause it sounds rude and it may give the impression that I don’t love or respect him.
In actual fact, most of the values I hold dear are from my father. The respect and acceptance I have of others, immaterial of race, religion, rich or poor comes from my father. He practised and cultivated integration and feminism some fifty years ago. He was my first hero. So where did the resentment come from ?
As I told earlier, he had a heart problem unfortunately, from my perspective, he continued to chain smoke n didn’t really care for his health much. He did not rest or eat well. He did not adamantly insist on being particular about his health and well being. When I was little, I tagged along with him a lot and in later years of my life ,I vividly remember his weary shoulders and gloomy look. It looked like he was not happy. When I was working through my bottled up and messed up emotions sometime ago, I realized his sadness probably had to do with my mother and maybe with his own childhood . Was his lack of interest and care for his life justified ? As I pondered , I realised he was wrong. As a parent and spouse myself , would I let go of the love for my life and my children just because I had a difficult spouse. Isn’t it a parents’ responsibility to nourish and to give their children a head start in life more so when you know your spouse is the weak link in the marriage. Wouldn’t it be a sensible plan to buy a house for one’s family just in case something happens to one’s life especially after the first warning alarm regarding one’s health. Why didn’t he think of his children? Why ? As I questioned myself , I discovered the resentment, sitting just below all the pain.
Whoever said honesty is the best policy, was absolutely right. When my honest and genuine emotions surfaced , I was able to find my closure. I was finally able to accept , forgive and let go of the resentment I held for years. I was free to thank him for bringing me to this world and allowing me to be part of his life. It was a very good feeling to let off an old heavy burden which I had carried for years. I hope some of you out there who is struggling even to acknowledge even the extinct of some kind of a resentment towards one’s parent , this article will help you to have the courage to work on it. Work on it and free yourself. You are not impolite, conceited , hard headed or a troublemaker for acknowledging your thoughts about your parents. Admit it , understand it , accept it ,let it go and move on . It’s important to avoid negative emotions or feelings to fester cause they might a) * zap up our energy and make us lackluster or worse b) * grow stronger and spill over to our other relationships.
I saw a programme about hoarders on television just now. The lady that was being helped said she picks up things and hoards them cause she needed to fill up the emotional void she was having and after the sometime she feels empty again goes right out again to pick up things to fill up the new void and she had continued like that for over 20 years. That got me thinking about my own feelings.
Have I been feeding my own emotional void and need for the past 30 years? I keep looking for new things, new projects and new situation to do or handle. What is the void I have ? What am I actually avoiding ? Pain , deep sadness , hurt , acceptance , confrontation , anger …….. Yes , Maybe …..
Facing oneself is actually the hardest and most demanding thing in the whole wide world. Trust me , I have done some pretty difficult and exhausting things in my life but looking , identifying and accepting my inner issues are indeed tough but it is worth it ! A quote from Buddha comes to my mind “ One who conquers himself is greater than another who conquers a thousand times a thousand ,on the battlefield.”
I have been constantly involved in demanding situations in the institutes I have worked in. I have taken personal pain in improving the quality of teaching and learning for my students. I have challenged administrators, colleagues , parents and students. I have gone out of my way to both emotionally , physically and financially to achieve these changes. I have come home with aches and massive stress but yet I still embraced these demanding situations. I had chances to walk away but I never did cause I always insist I don’t believe in jumping ship.
Even in my personal life , I was always solving problems for my extended family and looking out for them. I was also always catching up on the problems around the world and discussing it. Now and then, I spend time enlightening people about these problems and worrying about them. I have caught myself once or twice in the past thinking “.. Oh .. nothing alarming is happening around the world.. there is nothing for me to worry or inform others.” I wonder whether I was addicted to stressful situations cause they would occupy my time and attention so I don’t have to think or pay attention to my inner feelings. It was a way of escapism. Yes , it is avoidance and I was forever looking for stressful and demanding situations to fill up my void. Oh ! how much I have hurt myself physically and emotionally. I am so sorry to myself for all the pain and exhaustion I caused my body. I am sorry to my emotions and my feelings for not addressing and easing their suffering. I promise now , today , I will always respect and care for my body. I will always address my affliction and work on them. Yes . I am grateful , I have the common sense to break this chain of seeking and filling up my void.
How do I do it ?
1. I tell myself I deserve a break and rest. “ Enjoy a cup of tea and listen to some songs. You don’t need to be constantly doing things. You body and mind deserve to rest. Respect them .”
2. It’s okay to not to do anything specific. “ From time to time everyone and everything takes a break. Animals hibernate,machines are stopped for servicing and the same rule applies to human beings. It’s okay to be just lying down, looking at the sky or reading a good book.”
3. I don’t need drama or stress to make me feel inspired. “ My best does not comes out when I am under stress. I don’t need miserable incidents, unhappy scenarios , accidents , or scandals to engage my mind.” “ My life is not boring just because nothing demanding is happening around me.”
4. I don’t need to seek new demanding situations to replace old or past ones. “ It’s okay if nobody needs my advice, my skills or my contribution. I am not useless or insignificant if I am not needed. I am happy doing my daily chores and appreciating nature and people around me.”
5. Learn to say No . This is something I have trouble with due to my upbringing ,culture and childhood conditioning. “ I am sorry , I would not be able to …….. . ” “ I need some time to think over before I give you my answer….”
* If you are not able to say no today, try again tomorrow , try the day after tomorrow , the key is to keep trying.
6. Not to be disappointed or angry with myself. It’s not easy to change my thought patterns or to learn new ideas. Be patient with myself. “ It’s alright. I will try again.” “ This is new for me so It’s okay if I make mistakes or stumble..”
Always give yourself a chance cause you are worth it !
Today I would like to share the emotional and mental changes I went through when I retired two months ago after working for more than thirty years.Believe me , I never expected the kaleidoscope of thoughts that ran wild and directionless, through my mind .
- I should give a little background on my working life for you to understand my thoughts : I lead a pretty hectic life as an educator for young children for over 30 years and I regularly move to different towns and get transferred to various institutes to teach. The move was because of my husband’s nature of work.I am very good in preparing children for national exams so very often I was sent to all the low performing institutes and sometimes really interior ones. I have spent a good part my life travelling on bumpy roads and bulldozing my ways through people with stagnant thoughts and with egos as large as mountains.I will talk more on this in a different post. So as you can see, I have let a very busy life, what more with taking care of my three kids and my husband . A few years ago , my health was effected and I realised I needed to slow down so I finally decided to put in my papers for an early retirement.
Immediately after I retired, I moved to an entirely new country with my husband as he was once again given a new assignment. My kids were in college so I was free to move with my husband. My first month was spent cleaning and setting up our new quarters. It was time consuming and pretty tiring so I did not have much time to reflect or even think.
Then came February , the first week was spent planning a visit home to visit my kids and relatives. The second week was the trip and it was a pretty good trip and I did have some incidents which could have contributed to my feelings for the following week.
The moment I returned, it hit me that I have finally retired.I had so much of time and I didn’t have my work as a shield to protect me from the emotions and feelings which I have deep down inside me. For your knowledge , I was emotionally abused and went through a few traumatic incidents for a number of years. Frankly , I have worked on these issues and thought I had laid them to rest. But NO ….. they were still there , and they came back to my mind which was idle and worked right into my self esteem which had probably plummeted when I stopped working.
Whoever said that an idle mind is a devil’ s workshop must have gone through a retirement. It’s really odd how when we looked forward to lazing around and not doing anything can actually cause you trouble. I learned that :
# I should be gently and kind to myself as I wean myself out of my old ‘busy’ routine.
# I should not confuse my present state of not having a job with myself esteem. I respect myself and I have contributed the best I can.
# I validate and acknowledge my hard work and performance.
# I deserve to rest whenever I want
# I deserve to enjoy my free time anyway I like
# I must be patient with my mind and body as they recover from all the stress and weariness I have accumulated over the years.
# I am able to enjoy all the simple things that I have always wanted to do.
# All the simple things I am doing are important to me.
#It not important for others to validate whatever I am doing cause I validate it.That’s the more important.
#I will look into new possibilities and and explore them at my pace.
Well , right now I am doing one of the simple thing I have wanted : writing a blog. Congratulations to myself. Bye for now.
6th March 2015
Life sure has it’s own way of providing us with nooks ,corners and surprises. Today, I finally got to set up my own blog.Yeah ! I have wanted to do it for really long time but was not able to do it cause I was bogged down by my work and was busy being a wife, a mum and a sibling.I firmly also refused to divert or divide my time on other matters. I gave priority to those who were there ,right in front of me. I sometimes wonder whether my way of thinking was right cause ,in spite of all the effort and hard work I put into my actions , I m always the unsung hero. I actually googled about unsung heroes to find out more about why we feel like that. Apparently ,it comes from our need for outside validation : to be praised or acknowledged by others. I actually realised , I was the one who was undermining my efforts and hardwork and not anyone else. That insight let me to read more articles and somehow I made a greater effort in pursuing my long wanted intention of starting a blog. Today, I’m finally writing and posting my thoughts. Congratulations to myself for having the commonsense and understanding to reflect and realise my shortcomings and to act on them. A big thank you too, to my darling husband for setting up a Wi-Fi hotspot for me to access the internet.You are indeed my soul mate, love you so much. And, my darling daughters, thank you for being my role models. Your courage,insights and diligence inspire me everyday. Not to forget, warm birthday greetings to one of my daughters who is slowly turning into a lovely adult.
P.S. I use the Wi-Fi hotspot cause I recently moved to in an interior part of this world.
Thank you so much for choosing to share my journey, my chi. It’s indeed a blessing to be able to reach out and share a part of my life with my fellow beings. Thank you for your support and time. I hope I would be able to learn from you and you, from me. Enjoy reading.