In a video talking about self discovery, Will Smith said “You can’t achieve your way out of childhood trauma.” Oh man, my head just about exploded when I heard that. This made me think of my life’s history and the “why” behind many of my decisions.
It wasn’t until adulthood that I finally realized that my Dad and I have very different ways of showing love. Up until I was about 37 years old, I thought that my Dad didn’t really love me. I found myself constantly doing things in hopes that I would make him proud and earn his love. On to the next… and the next… and the next… Only to never get the love and approval I was always seeking. It wasn’t until my breakthrough moment when I was 39 years old that everything changed. I made a decision to live an intentional life. Every decision I made would be on purpose and it would be made for me…no one else.
Through the years of intentional living, I really embraced vulnerability and had some profound conversations with my Dad about how I felt. Turns out, he has been proud of me all along… and loved me deeply too. He simply just showed his love and admiration so much differently than I do that I didn’t recognize it. This was such a valuable lesson. This was proof of the stories we make up in our heads. The narrative we create based on pure fiction that we accept as fact!
I spent half of a lifetime telling myself a “made up” story that caused a tremendous amount of pain and trauma.
So when I heard Will Smith use that line, ”You can’t achieve your way out of childhood trauma,” this resonated deeply with me. How many decisions are you making in hopes of making someone else see you in a particular light? How are you disguising yourself in hopes of acceptance? For me, I thought the more money I made, the higher status I appeared to have. The more “success” I achieved, the more love I would get. Now I know that the more I try to please the people around me, the more I abandon myself. Everyday I would get further and further away from who I truly was and what I truly wanted that I couldn’t even see myself anymore. This led to a full on identity crisis. I was so invested in being who others wanted me to be that I no longer even knew who I was. It took a lot of digging and a lot of soul searching to find myself. I believe I am still uncovering bits and pieces of the real me. It’s like discovering little hidden treasures. This usually happens in conversations with others.
My Father is an incredible man…in fact, he’s the most incredible man I have ever known. I am so thankful to have been given an opportunity to really know him. Though, it wasn’t until I was able to break through all of the bullshit that I could get to know him.
I wanted to share this story with you because I think we are all navigating our way through some childhood trauma… Some false narratives that have guided us in a direction that doesn’t feel right. We feel like we are missing something. We feel this deep yearning for something but we can’t really identify it. This feeling of knowing that we are meant for something more. As humans, we tend to seek approval from those around us and use that approval as our compass. Since we never really know what others are truly feeling or thinking you may find yourself chasing after something you’ve had all along but didn’t see it. Or, of course there is also the possibility that you won’t get the approval you’re looking and hoping for but you have to follow your heart anyway. Being true to yourself is the greatest feeling in the world. Approval of self will guarantee you a wholehearted life.
Be intentional. When you are truly at your best you are at your best for others…you can fill the cups of those around you. Choose yourself first! This is love in its purest form!