On loss, vulnerability and expectations

Last Thursday marked the 9th anniversary of my mom’s death. She had a tough last few years and although I’m not one to give into feelings of guilt, this one was hard to dismiss. I felt like I had abandoned her somewhat at the nursing home. I went to see her regularly but perhaps not often enough. I meant to go see her several days before I got “the call” telling me to drop what I was doing and get to the home. By the time I got there, she was alive but unresponsive. My brother was flying back that night. I was grateful he was able to get out to see her one last time. We both told her it was ok to say goodbye and that it was time.   It hit me really hard this year. It was the first time I admitted that I felt guilty for not being there like I should have if I had been more diligent. I’d like to blame Mercury going into retrograde and the solar eclipse the previous day.   But I won’t. I always struggle around this time even though I’m not usually one to show hurt and pain and vulnerability.

I guess it’s the way I was raised. Keep it private. Don’t let anyone in. Don’t air your “dirty laundry” in public. Put on your “public face”. It was all so fake, so suffocating. I grew up trying so hard to be a people pleaser. And yet by nature I was such a rebel. I rebelled against the façade. I rebelled against being told what to do. If I was told to get left, I wanted to go right … and often did. Just to exert some control of my own life.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t abused growing up … I wasn’t mistreated. But I was quietly controlled and manipulated and I despise that. I had a pretty nice life on the surface. Nice home. Both parents even though they probably shouldn’t have stayed together. But my mom was of the generation where family is everything and you sacrifice everything for your kids. Perhaps that’s partly why I never really wanted children.

My mother and I had a very tumultuous relationship. On the one hand I loved her very much. We had a lot of fun together. On the other hand, she was controlling and manipulative and I allowed her to destroy my self esteem, my confidence. I say allowed, because ultimately, we have control over how we respond to how others treat us.

It would be so easy to blame her for so many things in my life, but I don’t. I’m not sure she knew any better. And being the rebel that I am, I refuse to follow the “status quo” … you know, the “let’s play the blame game” group.   We need to take responsibility for our actions and our reactions. We may not be able to control everything that happens to us, but we can certainly control how we respond to any given situation. We can get sucked into it or rise above it.

Sometimes we have to do things that are right for us even though it may not be the popular decision. Others may not understand. I am a firm believer (right or wrong … this is just my belief) that sometimes we have to protect ourselves … our energy … and it may not be in alignment with what someone else wants or needs.

It all boils down to expectations. I feel like we’ve been programmed to expect that if “this” happens then people should respond like “that”. Why? Who made those rules?   If we stopped expecting people to react a certain way, I think we’d all be a lot happier and less stressed. So much stress is caused by expecting that someone will react one way and then they don’t, we get upset. We need to understand that maybe that person is going through their own stuff and can’t do what you want or need them to do. We need to understand that sometimes we have to protect ourselves and our energy above all else.

Being a solopreneur/healthpreneur is a full time job. Sometimes it’s not a popular job and sometimes we neglect (unintentionally) other aspects of our lives. It doesn’t make us selfish or worse narcissistic (yes, I’ve been called that a couple of times lately because I don’t respond the way someone wanted me to) … it makes us focused and driven. It’s not an easy thing to get a business up and running. It’s pretty much a 24/7 thing and that’s ok. I knew that when I signed up for this. I’m working towards a better life for my hubby and I.   My mission is to help others get their health and their life back. That takes a lot of energy so I need to protect that energy. It’s not always a popular decision.

So I’ve surrounded myself with positive, uplifting, encouraging people who only want to see me succeed and are helping me along the way. They keep me energized. They keep me focused. They keep me engaged. Tony Robbins, Robin Sharma, Eric Thomas and Les Brown have had an enormous impact on my life. Tony teaches that when we get “stuck” we need to change our state. Last night I was super upset about something and just wanted to hit something. So instead, I put on some Kid Rock … very loud … and released that aggression.

Why have I shared all this with you? Because I know that many of you have experienced similar things and I want you to know you’re not alone. I know it’s hard when family and friends don’t understand what you’re doing or your reactions sometimes. Everyone is on their own journey. It’s not their job to understand your journey. It is your job to stay focused on what you know in your gut and your heart is the right thing.

Do what you can to be there for others. Just know that it’s not always going to be possible. And that’s ok. You might lose people. You might have people angry and disappointed with you. That’s ok too. That’s their issue, not yours. If you have a clear conscience and a good heart and your intentions are pure, I believe you need to keep doing what you’re doing.

I wish you all the best. I want you to be strong and powerful and independent and caring and focused. Know that many of us are going through similar circumstances so you are not alone.

Never hesitate to reach out to me at sandy@steppingstoneswellnessinc.com.

Sandy O’Shea, CNP
Holistic Nutritionist

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