In my early 20’s I had two recurring nightmares. One was of me finally having the opportunity to confront some people in my life who had hurt me. The other was of me driving a car that gets out of my control.
In the first nightmare, I am staring at a person who has hurt me and caused me pain. I am finally at the moment of confrontation, ready to tell this person exactly how I feel. I open my mouth, wanting to shout and scream, but no words come out. It is as if the words are stuck in my throat. I am suddenly mute. I have no voice. I feel frustrated, and powerless.
In the second nightmare I am driving fast along on a winding road when suddenly I press hard on the breaks, but the car spins out of my control. I am scared. I try desperately to regain control of the car that I am driving. I keep pressing on the breaks, but no matter how hard I try, I cannot stop the car. I wake up feeling panicked, upset, and incapable.
These were my recurring nightmares. I could not understand why I kept having them. I only knew that they would not go away.
Not until I finally confronted one person in my life who caused me tremendous hurt and pain, in real life.
I remember the day clearly. It was surreal. I was sitting directly across the table from this person. I opened my mouth and began to speak. And the words came out. My voice was steady, calm, and confident. Needless to say, this person did not like what I had to say. But it was not my job to convince him. My purpose was only to say what needed to be said. I found my voice and I used it well.
After that confrontation, I stopped having that first nightmare.
But I could not shake that second nightmare and I could not figure out why. I had confronted my demons, I thought. What could I have possibly left to do?
It wasn’t until I was working on one of my assignments in my family coach certification program, that I finally understood what was still left in my own healing and journey moving forward in my life. In my course we were required to write our signature story. A signature story is a story that defines who we are, a story that also serves as the inspiration for our work or what we do.
It was obvious to me what my breakthrough/aha moment story was. I chose to write about the above confrontation story. I was very proud of my story and quite impressed with myself.
My instructor, on the other hand, was less than impressed. When I asked her what she thought of my story, she said this: “Half the class has the same story as you. This story and the way that you just told it tells me that you are still angry and still full of pain and blame. If you want to walk out into the world as a professional coach, you better heal yourself first and move past all of the anger, pain and blame. You have to start taking personal responsibility. In fact, every single word in your story has to come from a place of you taking full responsibility for your life.”
I was shocked. That was the biggest ‘virtual’ smack in the face that I ever received. Little did my instructor know that she had changed my life forever. She saw in me what I could not see for myself; that I was still hanging out in, what I now call, the land of blame, anger, and pain. I thought that once I had made probably the most important confrontation of my life, that my path to healing was done. Little did I know that I had more work to do in order to be fully free, happy, and confident. (Read more about how I learned how to build real, and sustaining self-confidence, here.)
From that point on I learned how to take full responsibility for and control of my life, my past, my present, and my future. I no longer blamed anyone or anything as the reason for me not accomplishing what I set out to accomplish. I stopped doubting and questioning myself. I took control of my life, my career, and my relationships. I set goals for myself and set out to accomplish them.
It was then that I stopped having that second nightmare.
How about you? Do you ever feel like you have an important idea or message to share, but you either are too afraid to share it or have no idea how? Do you ever feel as if you have lost control of your life, or of what is happening in your career or relationships?
My experience taught me how important it is to be connected to and to share our own voice calmly and confidently. But often that is only the first step toward success, healing, and moving forward. The second, and probably most essential step to being fully free, happy and confident is taking personal responsibility and control of our lives.
Are you ready to take the next step?
In support and admiration,
As always, be in touch with any questions or comments.
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