I used to be a “yeller”. I yelled at everyone. Over and over. Every day. I hated it, I hated myself. It’s the worst thing I remember from my own childhood… my own mother, yelling and raging, making everyone walk on eggshells around her. It’s the one thing I swore I wouldn’t do to my kids, and then there I was, doing the same exact thing.
I have been trying to stop for years. Literally, years. Summer of 2011 is when I began personal counseling sessions with a therapist, and when I realized for the first time where my rage originated. I began to heal. I had to heal my broken inner child before I could change the behaviors that were the result of that brokenness. The deeper into myself I dive, the more clearly I see what needs to change, and how.
This is no easy task. It is a journey I’m still on. It has been filled with many painful memories, many tears, many emotions. It has been terrifying and enlightening. I have grown frustrated at my seeming lack of progress. If I could just wish my thoughts and behaviors away, I would have done so long ago.
I’m here to tell you this: it’s all worth it. Those tiny steps forward I’ve taken over several years and even the backsliding, the self-doubt, the anguish… and even knowing I have a lifetime of growing and learning left, including many future mistakes, I’m sure.
Why is it all worth it? Because the progress is real. I’ve seen it. It’s there.
Last weekend, my 11 year old daughter was mixing up some juice concentrate. She wound up tipping the pitcher and spilling over half the juice. All over the counter, cabinets, floor, herself. My instant reaction wasn’t yelling. In the past, I would have translated that sticky juice disaster into an emotional mess. But I didn’t. Not this time. I didn’t even let out a big sigh or roll my eyes. I immediately began directing her and my 9 year old as to what steps should be taken (safety first, unplug the coffee pot!). I grabbed towels and pitched in. The three of us communicated and cleaned, side by side. And in the course of a few minutes, the mess was gone.
As the girls took the messy towels to the washing machine to start a load of laundry, I told my husband, rather incredulously, “I didn’t yell, that whole time!” This was a monumental occasion. I am proof that people can heal. That people can change the neural pathways in their brain. It is the hardest path I’ve ever taken, but by far the most rewarding.
This is my hope for all of you here, struggling to change, doubting yourselves, wanting to give up. Don’t! Persevere! You can do this! There is hope. You are worth it. You deserve happiness and peace. And as you find it for yourself, it will spread to all those around you, like ripples in a pond.