I recently saw an expanded version of the saying – “people are in your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime – that struck me. The phrase continued with – “to test you, to teach you, to use you, or bring out the best in you”.
This newer version made me think about some personal connections I felt were less than positive. I realized each person fit one of the four categories listed and in looking further I could see there was a positive aspect even in a seemingly negative connection. As I pondered further, I was reminded of a practice I created during my coaching studies.
In integrative coaching, we look at unfinished projects, unspoken communications, and similar experiences as incompletions. Incompletions can sap our energy. Think of the items on your to do list that you avoid, defer, and in other ways leave dangling (I call them dangling threads). Do they add to your energy or take away from it?
As I worked through my own incompletions, one area I reviewed was negative connections from my early life that continued to influence me and considered how to “complete” them. I then realized that this focus on the negative was causing me to overlook the amazing people, unexpected opportunities, and adventures that were also a part of my early life. In some other instances, connections had been broken but I felt a lack of closure.
While I was working through my own introspection, I started an approach I named “Reconnect to Disconnect”. I started by researching where those amazing people currently lived and sent them thank you letters. For those with whom I felt a lack of closure, I sent them notes thanking them for being in my life while also saying good-bye. Some of those letters were sent decades after the experience; however, for me they acknowledged and completed the connection.
As a result of my “Reconnect to Disconnect” practice, I discovered:
- People were touched that I remembered them, so many years later
- Individuals who were grateful to learn how they impacted my life
- Situations in which the reconnect to disconnect resulted in a reconnection
In all of these situations, I acknowledged the power of connection, while accepting that people are meant to be in our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Furthermore, the connections can be either positive (teach you, bring out the best in you), or they may feel negative (test you, use you).
Do you have people in your life who meant a lot to you, but you lost touch even though you never forgot them or the impact of their presence? Are there individuals with whom you feel a continuing connection even though you haven’t been in touch for years? Maybe you have a negative memory of someone, but if you look more closely, you see they brought something important to your life.
If you are challenged by how it feels when you consider these former connections, please contact me for a complimentary coaching session.
© 2020 Systems of Change, LLC