It's that spooky time of year when going to "the dark side" is celebrated. All things haunted, dark and ghoulish. The fun comes from knowing it is fake, so we don't really get scared.
It's not that way in real life. The "dark side" is part of everyone's life story, but it doesn't feel good, and it certainly doesn't feel like something to brag about. Maybe it's a mistake you made. Maybe you even knew you were making a mistake at the time and did it anyway. How many people married someone when they knew it was the wrong thing to do? Or, maybe it was a rough patch in your family story that went unspoken for decades. Everyone was left to connect the dots and try to understand and that secrecy started feeling shameful.
These rough patches in life, especially when they are of our own making, are things we try to get over and move on from as quickly as possible, and that's totally understandable. Human beings are wired for pleasure not pain. Booing and hooing over our misery often makes us feel worse. The truth is that pushing these experiences aside or burying them in the back of your heart, the recesses of your mind and even in your physical body means they will come back and really haunt you at a later date.
With age comes wisdom. When we reflect on what's happened to us, with our relationships, in our families, at our jobs, we can see how we were shaped by so many impressionable experiences and events. The tough times really come to life because they asked so much of us.
What I have discovered as I get older than I was when I was younger (ahem) is that I now look at all the experiences I've had as part of a bigger picture. It's way more enjoyable to focus on vacations and fun trips and the highlights of my career, but those things didn't make me an understanding partner or an empathetic coach or a caring volunteer or a lovey dovey grandmother. It was out of the darkness that I was able to see the light, feel the joy and show up as a whole person (dark side and bright side) for what I have now.
When I coach on Instagram or Facebook Live, I notice that it is my "dark side" stories that gather the most attention. I think that's because those stories are the most relatable. They prove that even though I am the coach with the answers who is trying to set a good example, things still go sideways in my life too. Truth: that's life for EVERYONE whether they admit it or not. So, I gladly admit it.
This week I am encouraging you to look at your life and the events, relationships, family dynamics that shaped you. Consider the "dark side" times that left you feeling lonely or misunderstood or ashamed. Then consider what you did because of that. How did you show up in the world because of all that shaped you? Open the shade on some of that darkness and let in the light of now. Be kind and compassionate to yourself. Then remember, all of your life matters. All of your history is important. All of this made you who you are today.
I touched on this topic on my Facebook Live coaching on Wednesday at 4PM. Take a listen.
Don't forget--you are invited to Group Coaching with me--in November and December, weekly, on the topics of:
Permission, Boundaries, Self Care and Fun.
Come to one week or all weeks.
This is a donation based coaching program on zoom.
Send me a message if you want IN.
Monday nights at 7-7:30PM OR Thursday mornings at 10-10:30AM. Pick one.
I will send other reminders and descriptions about it. Stay tuned for sane holiday months with Coach Karen.