This past week was my birthday.
In the past I rarely told people it was my birthday, for two reason. The first reason was I didn’t necessarily want to come across as a braggart. The other reason was because it was a test.
Yes, I said test.
My birthday should never have been used in that way, and it was only recently I realized the depth of why I used the day I was born against people. Nevertheless, this is what I did, year after year, for many years.
Let me explain.
I wanted to know whether or not other people valued me in their lives. So, I didn’t talk to them about my birthday because I wanted to know if they loved me. If they asked about my birthday and remembered, they cared; and, if they didn’t acknowledge me on that day, they didn’t really care.
At this point in my life, I realize that testing the people I love in this way only served to separate me from them. But, even worse, it was hypocritical. If I loved them, why would I selfishly put them in a place where they were likely to fail? You see, I myself know how hard it is to remember everyone’s birthday. My memory is faulty, and I frequently forget what day something is on. I love my family and friends, but I still forget those dates. And, when I forget them, my friends and family forgive me. So, what I was doing was being a hypocrite and expecting more from others than I did from myself.
As I reflected on why I felt the need to do this year after year, what I discovered was deep issues of abandonment from childhood. Where they came from isn’t important right now. But, those issues that seemed trivial in the now because they were part of a past I had let go of and forgiven were actually still affecting my behaviors.
And, that is NORMAL.
But, now that I saw it, I had a chance to make a change in my mind. I consciously began to tell and remind everyone about my birthday. I had long ago learned that anything I felt the need to hide was probably what I really needed to share. So, instead of hiding from a day that celebrates my official arrival in life, I chose to embrace the day and share it with those I love.
You know what? It worked. I had an enjoyable day and I learned a lot about myself on it.
I learned that no matter how much I think I am past certain issues in my life, I may still need to take action to break a habit or behavior that is ingrained in me because of it. Our mind and body can still hold onto the hurts of the past, long after we think we have forgiven it.
I learned that I have the ability to determine what power past events will continue to have in my mind. We all do. By consciously taking power from a hurt still held in my subconscious mind, I continued my path to freedom from it.
Sometimes taking that power away from the past is accomplished with looking toward the future with coaching. But, there are times when the pain caused from the past require you to look back into it. In those cases it is imperative to seek out a professional therapist or counselor help you do it.
Trauma can run deep and it’s okay to ask for help outside yourself to work through it. Separating yourself from people around you isn’t the answer. Healing takes place through connection. Connection to yourself, and connection to others. No matter how strong you are in handling life’s hurts, you should not be afraid to reach out connect.
Remember, healing takes place through connection.
Don’t let fear keep you from living a purposeful and meaningful life. Seek out those who can help you find your inner strength and use it to free yourself from that bondage.
Tell everyone about your birthday and celebrate the freedom it gives you. Oh, wait! That part is for me. Because I reached out, I spent my birthday week being showered with love from people I told I about it and people who remembered on their own. I was able to freely enjoy all that the week offered because I chose not to be afraid and to fight against the part of my mind that was stuck in the past.
I chose to connect. Now, it’s your turn.
Be Brilliant. Be Amazing. And most of all, BeYOUtiful!
Pictures of my family at one of my birthday dinners: