How to use traumatic memory to change your life for better?
Sometimes it’s worth to have a look into the past, not to dwell on the past, but to use the past experiences to realize what we can change, how we can find motivation, how we can help others.
What is the most traumatic memory from your childhood? Try to look deep into your earliest memory and bring up the most difficult memory, the one you are ashamed of, the one you don’t like talking about, the one you have never said about loud.
Remember the reason of this exercise is to say goodbye to that memory and to use it to empower yourself and change. Try to find a connection of how this memory is affecting your life now. What is the negative effect of this experience? What would be different if you could disconnect yourself from that memory? What have you learnt on this? What you could teach others in relation to this? How could you help others in the similar situation?
When I was 6 year old it happened quite often that the ambulance was coming to help my mum. She’s had a cancer. One day I remember my mum has had an effusion. Me and my sister were waiting in our small shared room with the rapid folding door. We could hear what is happening and we could smell a blood. That was scary, smell of blood. How much blood is she loosing? Is she going to be ok? Is it going to the end? I didn’t know if mum will survive, I didn’t understand what exactly is happening. I was there prying in my mind for my mum to be all right. I wanted this to end, I wanted my mum to be healthy. I didn’t want to listen to her pain. I didn’t want to smell blood any more and have all of those needles everywhere at home.
I imagined how I would feel without that blood smell, without the stress of what’s going on, I imagined that she would die…
I was guilty cause for a moment I was thinking about myself. How easier it would be for me, how calm, stress free, without worry and pain. It is so difficult even now to share this truth with you, being ashamed of my thinking and feeling
I was guilty because I knew she may die. I remember when my dad was working on delegations I was so scared staying with mum, I couldn’t sleep scared that this will happen again when dad isn’t around. I felt so unsecure. A few times we have had to get hold of him, he was coming back home cause mum felt worse. It was no mobile phones that time, dad was working miles away and we couldn’t get in touch with dad straight away, we could only ring his employer and hope that he will be able to contact him.
The same year my mum died. I felt guilty. I felt guilty cause I remembered that situation when for a moment I could imagine a benefit of life without her cancer, without her. It is so difficult to write about. I continue only because I know this has shaped my life. The way I was living for nearly 30 years. This has shaped the way I am now. This experience has contributed to my guilt of thinking about myself, guilt of doing things for myself, guilt of being myself.
How this memory changed my life? How this changed me, the way I was or the way I am now? What have I learnt from it?
It made me stronger as now I know how to look at this. I am independent. But during my life I was scared to fall in love, to fully fall in love. Because the person who I love can be in pain, die, disappear.
Is this the reason I was lost so many times in my life? There is something even deeper. When my mum died I felt so guilty that I thought I am responsible for my dad and my 3 years older sister. They didn’t expect this from me… now I know. But when I was only a little girl I was trying to do anything to do not loose anybody else who I love any more. So I didn’t think about myself. I have never thought about myself.
I was always doing things that I thought that are the best for others, that I though are expected from me. Being a kid, then a teenager I was spending loads of time cooking. After school I wasn’t going out playing with the kids, I was making a dinner for us cause I knew that dad is working hard and I didn’t want him to cook after work, I wanted him to love me and do not ever leave me. I didn’t notice that when I wasn’t thinking what I really want to do and by doing anything to please others I was getting frustrated and angry. I didn’t notice that they love me anyway, the way I am.
I was tidying up, cause I thought it have to be super, perfect tidy at home. I was washing up whilst my sister was painting or learning about things that interests her. I was getting angry, I was jealous but not strong enough to do what I want, what I enjoy, what interests me. I didn’t even know what I want. So I’ve spent years and years of pleasing others, or thinking that I please others, cause you could easily notice that I wasn’t cooking with joy. I hated it. But I thought I have had to do it. I was arguing with my sister and dad cause I felt like what I was doing wasn’t appreciated. Yes, I didn’t remember that they didn’t expect that. They wanted me to be happy but I didn’t know how to be happy, I thought that doing something for myself is a bad thing. I wanted to never loose anybody any more again. I was like that most of my life, making decisions which were not mine. Decisions I thought expected from me, decisions to please others.
I was so lost. I wasn’t myself, I was for others. I was sometimes that frustrated that this was destroying my relationships. After years of pleasing others I understood that I need to be happy with myself first to be able to be happy with others. I’ve had a few moments in my life when, I can see now, I was trying to destroy that damaging circle and do something for myself. I moved out from home quite early so I didn’t need to cook for anybody any more, I got divorced to start the life I want. I’ve had enough of not being myself, but before I’ve noticed that I went through depression, frustration and stress at work. And I understood where I was always making that one big mistake, I wasn’t living for myself, I was never following my dreams. Funny enough I remember that for the most of my life the biggest dream I’ve has was to be happy.
I am happy now. I chase my dreams, I am honest with myself. I share my thoughts as that’s the real me and it doesn’t matter who likes me who doesn’t.
Now I live for myself, not to please others.
I know how many people are trapped in their own lives. I know that the message I share can help others and completely change their lives that’s what motivates me to write my book, stay consistent with my values and be kind to myself.