Updated: Dec 3, 2019
(Learning to take back your power when bad things happen)
After a big scoop of ice cream an playtime in the park, "Pops" and I took our grandson's for a nature walk along the river. As our 7 yrs old (Connor) was climbing logs and tossing rocks into the river, he says to me, "Nana, I like today, today is a good day." That was right before he stepped on the nest of meat bees.
Seconds later we're all running for our life...Connor screaming in terror as he's being stung again and again.
Sadly, sometime life is like this. You're going along doing your thing, then just like that you're gut punched by pain, running for your life, and wondering what the hell just happened. You lose the job, get the diagnosis, discover the betrayal, told your loved one has died, learn your child is addicted, receive the foreclosure notice... One version or another happens to all of us at some points in life. It certainly has for me, and when it does, it's brutal. It leaves you stunned, hurting, and trying to make sense of what has happened.
In those times - when life gets hard, when you're hurting and scared, and it feels like you're under attack - you're the one who will decide what it means to you. Will it mean the world is cruel and unsafe, so you should armor up or hide out? Will it mean there is something wrong with you, you deserve bad things, you're weak, therefore you need to live under a blanket of shame? OR....will you allow it to show you that you are stronger than whatever tried to take you down?
In those times - when life gets hard, when you're hurting and scared, and it feels like you're under attack - you're the one who will decide what it means to you.
Five stings later we finally got away from the bees, calmed Connor down, and convinced him he was gonna be okay. And it was interesting...I watched as Connor started trying make sense of what just happened to him. What did it all mean??? - That bees are evil & manacle ?..."stupid bees! bees are mean! I hate bees!" That he did something wrong, or something is wrong with him?..."why did I make the bees mad?! I'm stupid! why do bees hate me?" That the river is a dangerous place to be avoided at all costs? "Stupid river! I never want to come here again!"
I realized that if I didn't help this little guy out, his fear would be choosing the meaning...deciding that "Bees are powerful evil creatures out to hurt me; I'm weaker than bees; I need to be afraid of bees the rest of my life." He needed help to see this differently - to see it from a place of power rather than fear. So I asked...
Me: "Connor, what do you think you learned here?
Connor: "Bees are mean!"
Me: "Ha, yes - bees can be mean when they're scared. What else?"
Connor: "I don't know?"
Me: "I think we learned that you are stronger than bees!"
Connor: "We did?"
Me: "Yeah, we did. Five bees stung you - and look - you're Okay. It was really scary and..."
Connor: "Yeah it was!!!"
Me: "I know, it was scary, Nana was scared too. And look you survived it. You proved you are stronger than the bees!"
Connor: "YEAH...I'M STRONGER THAN THE BEES!!!"
Me: "Yep, you sure are buddy"
This is what we all do...even as adults. When bad, painful things happen, our survival brain needs to make sense of it, so we create meaning. And if we're coming from a place of fear, more often than not, it's fear that assigns the meaning. Sister, how many times have you done that...allowed fear to tell you that this thing/person/situation/experience is more powerful than you, simply because it has the power to cause you pain? So you decide to armor up, cover up, hide out, run away, and live in fear or shame? (I know I've done it so many times too). But beautiful, I've learned that it doesn't have to be this way...that you get to decide, not fear. You can choose from a place of power, rather than fear.
You can say... Yes, this thing/person/situation/experience caused me untold pain, yes I struggled, yes I suffered, yes it almost destroyed me, but it didn't...I survived. AND...I'm still here. AND...I learned that I'm stronger than the thing/person/situation/experience....AND...it's proof that I AM STRONGER THAN WHAT TRIED TO DESTROY ME. Therefore, I don't NOT have to armor up, hide out, run away or live the rest of my life in fear & shame.
Look- nobody want's to get attacked by bees, nobody wants painful things to happen in their life - but when they do, they can teach us that we're stronger than the bees. And beautiful friend - there is so much value in knowing you are stronger than anything that can hurt you. So whatever painful experience you've had, or whatever may come...decide right now...rather than making them into proof of your pain - make them into proof of your strength. Because gorgeous, YOU ARE ALWAYS stronger than the bees!!
Big Love -
Sandi & Shannon