self-improvement (Nine Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life by Dr. Henry Cloud) and reflecting on who I want to be and what I want to do this coming year. Ironically, I watched several episodes of Iyanla, Fix My Life and found so much truth in the shows. Most people have seen the show, but in case you have not, Iyanla Vanzant helps people work through hard, life issues through counseling and confrontation.
Of course, I always try to take some helpful self-improvement hints from what I see and read. One particular episode
featured Terrell Owens, the former famous football star. Iyanla was helping him deal with the issues of his past that were keeping him from living a productive life and working in the NFL. One particular issue that arose was the fact that he did not know who his father was until he was eleven; this truth only came out when he liked a girl (who was also his neighbor) and was told by his father that he could not date her because he was her brother. Let me break that down: Terrell’s neighbor was his father and Terrell had a crush on his daughter. Terrell's mother slept with her (married) neighbor when she was sixteen and they kept it secret. That was a lot to handle, but these things happen in so many families. As one who grew up as a fatherless child as the result of immature and imprudent acts of adults, I understood.
What caught my attention is that Iyanla told Terrell that it was alright for him to be upset about it. During the interview, he often responded in a way to protect his mother instead of facing the reality of his true feelings about his life. I could relate to this because I have often denied my own feelings about childhood issues in order to protect my loved ones. Seeing this
interaction between Terrell and Iyanla was freeing for me. I received my own permission to be upset about bad things done to me by others and circumstances, beyond my control, that people put me in and it felt good. I didn’t lash out on anyone or anything, but I realized that a lot of the messy situations I have dealt with in life were beyond my control and not my fault and that I could be angry about it. We often seek to mute our emotions and responses as a way of coping with our issues; however, it hinders our growth, freedom, and recovery. I know the first step to getting over past hurts is not to mute my response. Acknowledge. Accept. Deal with it and move on.