Posted by: Sue Atkins
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies”
~ Nelson Mandela
I remember when I was 19 spending a night in a cold, wet and blustery tent down in Devon playing the “Truth or Dare” game with a group of friends. It felt really strange being so completely honest but also really liberating.
Most of us avoid telling our family the complete truth for fear of hurting them, worrying them or risking their anger or withdrawal of affection. But if children don’t learn to openly tell the truth, share their emotions or be emotionally honest then family relationships often start to suffer.
The truth compassionately and sensitively told frees up your energy, clears the air and gets rid of resentments before they build up and creates the type of relationships you really want in a happy, supportive, caring family.
Holding on to unsaid words or emotions is rather like shaking a bottle of champagne with the cork still inside – the bubbles have got nowhere to go but back down inside which can lead to frustration, anger, depression or illness later on in life.
It’s all about remembering the bigger picture to your parenting and being aware of what you pass on to your kids.
Some parents I work with come on a workshop or start a coaching programme holding on to past negative experiences with their kids as if they are dragging a great big heavy ball and chain around their ankles. These negative memories and past experiences hold them back in creating the type of relationships they really want now and as Tony Robbins wrote in his fantastic book “Awaken The Giant Within” – “Your past doesn’t equal your future”
Releasing and letting go of the past hurts, angry words, disappointments and tense relationships is a positive way to move forward and embrace the future.
So one technique I find really useful for parents working with me is to visualise the person you want to talk to sitting right in front of you relaxed, open minded and really eager to hear what you truthfully want to say to them. Sometimes imagining a rainbow of understanding and trust going between you is another helpful thing to do as it bridges and fills the gaps of misunderstanding.
Now say everything that’s on your mind, completely go into all the details of how you feel, be really specific and honest and let it all out.
You’ll be amazed at how cathartic that experience can be and how things seem to naturally shift within the family because of it.
Another idea on the same theme is to write a “Totally Truthful Letter” to the person that you burn, tear up or throw away and has phrases like:
• I’m angry that…
• I’m fed up with…
• It hurts me when……
• I feel disappointed when…
• I deserve……
• I feel….. when you….. because……
All these simple techniques put you back in to the driving seat of your life and back in the present where good things can happen and where you can take action towards a happier, more harmonious future.
Staying stuck in the past uses up valuable energy and robs you of your happy family relationships. You’ll feel lighter, freer and more optimistic which can only be a great for your whole family.