“Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records” – William Arthur Ward
We all know the saying that, “history has a way of repeating itself.” Sometimes I wonder how much time we spend examining the “why” to this statement. I mean really getting to the core of the question. I’ve been called a deep thinker and a deep feeler and it is these attributes that have led me to become dissatisfied with status quo answers. Now there are pros and cons to both attributes and for this post, I’ll probably touch on each and how they impact how we respond when it comes to breaking negative cycles or what is often termed as generational curses.
Think back for a moment in your own family historically, and ask yourself what issues, ailments or negative commonalities existed more often than not over the years? This can be anything from the amount of divorces that occurred throughout your family history to how many family members did not graduate from high school or those that suffered from specific diseases more often than not, etc.
For those that choose to go deeper and begin to do the homework, we may find some startling facts waiting to be discovered. At first it my seem alarming, which it should, but we should not stop there. Not only could this be a significant time for you to uncover what actually occurred, but you may also learn about the whys and possibly place yourself in a position to make an impact for your future and for the future of others in your family circle.
One of the greatest threats to progress is ignorance.
That old adage, ” What you don’t know can’t hurt you” is a lie and has ruined many lives and relationships over the years. By placing our heads in the sand or ignoring the elephants in our rooms, when it came to addressing family/social issues, like the impacts of living unhealthy lifestyles or allowing demeaning behaviors to become normalized has perpetuated destructive secrets, hurtful actions and malicious lies within our familial/social structures. When we choose to do nothing like so many have, we essentially become co-contributors to the very fabric being weaved within our family/social legacies. Unfortunately these legacies lead to what seems like generational curses in our families, like poverty, illiteracy and broken homes, where boys and girls are missing their fathers.
Why is it that so many of us gain courage in our 40’s and 50’s, where we simply don’t give a #*^@ about who knows our secrets anymore, the deep pain we have endured all of our lives or the unfair treatment inflicted on us by alleged loved ones? Whether it’s an iconic figure like Oprah Winfrey disclosing her painful childhood as an adult or an unknown figure like myself sharing my story (publicly) about my molestation or owning my part in a failed marriage, at what point do we gain the courage to speak the truth (our truth) and why?
In most cases, I believe the age is irrelevant in these situations.
Often times it has simply taken us this long to figure stuff out for ourselves and where we desire to go next with our lives.
By this time, breaking-points and hitting rock bottom may have come and gone, but for the first time a few other things may have finally become true for us, such as:
1. A New Courage – I’m not always sure why and when this happens, but there is certainly a correlation with us disregarding the opinions of others. This is much easier said than done, because for the most part we all care to a degree. It’s just when we add decades of abuse along with living in the shadows, simply to keep the peace and you combine that with personal growth and the discovery of who you are, the back seat just gets old. You’re ready to shout your story to the world and truly break free from the bondage of silence and getting along for the sake of getting along.
2. Taking Responsibility – It is so easy to blame someone else for our woes. We could probably get several friends and family members to be in agreement with why those woes exist, but there is nothing like owning your own sh#t. (I have no other way to describe this). The moment we are able to wisely sift through the minutia, the sooner we are able to experience freedom. This requires a certain level of maturity that usually goes against the grain of the masses. Even if your part is only 20%, own that! This will assist you in doing the work necessary to grow and help others.
3. Speaking the Truth in Love – When one is without the other, the message is conveyed either too harshly or too delicately. The combination of the two gives the appropriate balance. The truth will tell the story as it needs to be shared, and the love will allow you to come from a place of good intentions, even after hurt. Anything less perpetuates the issues without resolution.
4. A Better Understanding of You – Sometimes we have listened to the advice of others all of our lives (with the best intentions), and we have never truly understood how we impacted others with our actions or how the actions against us have impacted other’s lives. Usually it’s not until we are able to get still (over time) that we are able to discern the core issues that exist within us, e.g. why do all the men in my family have wives and girlfriends, or why do all the women find themselves with men that emotionally or physically abuse them, or am I smart enough to go to college when no one else in my family has? When we begin to answer these deeper (harder) questions, we gain the understanding of the whys and how we should proceed with the next chapters of our lives. It’s a process, and not for the faint of heart, but it will be one of the most rewarding things you can do to experience emotional and psychological freedom. A new hope that can become the guiding light for you and your family.
5. When Pain and Anger are No Longer the Driving Force – When my next steps to become whole were about me, versus trying to prove to someone else that I was worthy or okay, is when my steps became the right steps. I’ve learned to never make a decision when I’m angry or sad, because it will be a decision that I soon regret. So many of us work so hard at being whole, that the work becomes the objective, not the healing or the discovery of truth. We must learn to administer patience and recognize what is look like to celebrate small victories. Journaling helped me for a season. I was able to reflect on places and events from my past and see how my voice, actions and thoughts changed over a few months or years. Essentially it became my alignment tool.
Breaking negatives cycles in our lives is about establishing new paradigms.
All that you have may be your newly discovered truth to hold on to, due to the fact that historically the examples you had were diluted with lies, deceit and dark secrets of corruption. It’s a new day and contrary to popular belief, the future is bright. We are never alone in these situations, even if it feels as if we are. Someone has to be the trailblazer. Someone has to set the new path, for we know where the old path leads us. Nothing overwhelmingly good has resulted from it and you’re aware deep down, that it is you who will make the changes to set a new tone for your future and the for the future of the many that will follow in your foot steps. I remember as a young man as I looked over the years of what I saw as various forms of negative cycles in my family, I said to myself, “This will end with me!”. Some issues have ended, and others I continue to work through.
As an old friend use to say to me, “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” As soon as you do, you will begin to take new steps that lead to breaking negative cycles.