This past weekend I attended a workshop called the Landmark Forum. It was recommended to me by someone I have, only recently, had the pleasure of including in my life. It's a hard thing to explain what the weekend is exactly about. In a nut shell it was about discovering who I am and why I am the way I am.
I went into the weekend not having any idea what I was going to face, really I went into in blind but knew that several people in my life spoke highly of it. I went into it thinking that I was going to "fix" my issues and be a better person, I thought I was going to overcome my fears. Here is what I actually learned this weekend
1. I am perfect just the way I am at this moment. Nothing is wrong with me, my experiences and life up to now only make me who I am right now, perfect.
2. I learned how to recognize the relationships in my life where I have in-authenticity. The relationships where I have been unwilling to say certain things for fear of hurting the other person or fear of hurting myself. I made peace with those relationships (my mother, my brother and my husband) and have been completely honest and open. Those conversations were the scariest part of the weekend but I embraced them and did it anyway, it gave me closure.
3. I learned how my experiences have led me to be the person I am today. I learned my strong suites, the things that make me successful, are a product of my experiences. Landmark teaches that there are three main experiences in your life that shape and mold you. My experiences were as follows:
1) The first experience is something that happened very young where you think something is wrong and you failed to be a certain way so you choose to be another way. For me, at about 4 years old I developed encephalitis which caused me to suffer memory loss and all my basic functions including walking and eating. I was in a coma for over two weeks and am told I nearly died. Though I do not remember this experience, looking back I think that because I was so dependent on nurses, doctors and my parents to do things for me I told myself "I wont be the dependent one anymore, I will be self sufficient". From then on I always had to do things for myself.
2) The second experience is something that happens in your pre-teens when you are looking to belong. I remember in about grade six/seven I was in a play in school. I was the genie in Aladdin but there were two groups of kids performing the same play. I remember my entire class went to see the other group, no one from my class came to see me. From that moment on I felt like I was second best to everyone, I decided I would be better and try harder at everything to make people like me. I did things people wanted me to do to make them happy, not because I wanted to do them.
3) The third experiences happens as a teen/young adult where you decide you are on your own. For me, my parents divorce and my mother leaving which subsequently resulted in the loss of relationship for over seven years caused me to look at myself as unworthy and not good enough, I felt alone. I had failed to be good enough for her to stay, so I had to be the best at everything I did in order to prove my worth.
My three strong suites are self sufficient, reliable and determined. I learned that these are not bad things, in fact strong suites are what create results in our lives and without those three things I would have not been successful in my weight loss journey.
4. I learned that all of us are concerned about looking good to other people, we are scared of their responses or what they thing, we all play an internal dialogue in our head. I learned that letting go of looking good and doing what is authentic and real to you will produce more results than holding back.
5. I learned that it is okay to have fears, they don't go away. I learned you gain your power by embracing your fears and pushing past them anyway. For example, getting up and speaking at the mike was terrifying, but I did it anyway - every time even though I was scared.
6. I learned what my internal dialogue theme was, "i'm not good enough", that is the voice that plays in my head when I am resisting doing or saying something. But being authentic with the people around you will create deeper relationships.
7. I learned to ask for what I want, don't be afraid because you are no worse off than you were before you asked.
8. I learned that forgiveness isn't about the other person, as long as you get to say your piece and find closure, that is what matters.
9. I learned that my experience of a situation is just that, my experience. What happened happened, all I did was create a story from that experience.
10. I learned I am powerful beyond measure and that I will accomplish anything I set my mind to.
Like I said it is a difficult weekend to describe, the easiest way is to explain to you what I got out of it. The power of being in a room of 85 people who are all human beings living the human experience allowed me to see that I am not alone. I celebrate those people who did some amazingly scary things this weekend and I celebrate myself for creating closure in my life. I'm ready for the next step, creating a whole new life full of the possibility of open and honest relationships with those around me, inspiring others to find their inner strength and simply being me.