For a long time, I was challenged to see the good in things that happened to me growing up. How could the way certain people treated me possibly contain anything positive? The traumas, the being excluded, feeling deep fear and like I was never enough – these experiences felt overwhelmingly negative without an ounce of positive in the mix.
After I started doing transformational work, I was invited to look deeper, to reframe, and to shift perspectives. A breakthrough came when I studied Integrative Coaching which asks us to consider “the gold is in the dark”, – something Debbie Ford said often. The focus of this perspective is how even the most negative of events has something positive we can learn from it.
While I could see the gift or lesson in many events, situations, and people who were part of my life, I was truly challenged to see the gift in being bullied and excluded. Then one day, I was looking at the kind of roles I had in my various corporate jobs and the things that interested me the most.
- The time I spent studying overseas and experiencing diverse cultures
- The work I did with hundreds of teams supporting them to work together towards a common goal
- My interest in assessments highlighting the differences and diversity among us to enhance collaboration
- The enjoyment I felt in creating group events to bring people together both at work and in my personal life
While it took some time, I realized that the gift in the negative events I experienced was a fascination with diversity and a drive to find approaches to include everyone, honor different perspectives, and look at what was beneath the surface.
I was reminded of the focus on finding the gift or lesson when my Systemic Constellation instructor (Judy Wilkins-Smith) starting asking a similar question. Even for those who dislike a parent or other relative, she would ask “what is one good thing you can take from them?” The insights I have seen come out of that statement as she asks it, or as I do with my clients, have been amazing. Rather than rejecting, discarding, or otherwise dumping someone who is a part of our past, our history, we uncover and integrate something good that we can nurture and grow.
We cannot change the history of the world. We cannot change who our parents were. We cannot change what we did, good or bad, in the past. What we can do is learn from it, take any nuggets of gold from it, and do things differently in the future. Just like my love of diverse cultures, fostering collaboration, and bringing people together was born out of being excluded, there is gold in the dark we can use for positive change and forward momentum.
If you find yourself rejecting your past or repeating it, it is a clue that there is something more underneath. Are you willing to look at that clue? If yes, please contact me for a complimentary coaching conversation.
June 2020 © Systems of Change, LLC