Patricia Bonelli is the author of Owning Patricia: A Story of Breaking of Free, a compelling memoir. I am honored to share this guest post from her with you.
YOU CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH—UNLEASHING YOUR UNIQUE INNER WISDOM FOR HAPPINESS
with Patricia Bonelli
How may times in your past has a well-meaning friend or family member told you that they know the “perfect” man for you? Or that you’d be ideally-suited for a certain career? Or this outfit would look fabulous on you—why don’t you wear more short skirts?? Despite these well-meaning folks, you may have thought, They don’t have a clue as to what they are talking about!! In your mind, in your heart, the “he”, the career, or the short skirts just don’t, well, suit you—it doesn’t feel right to you and that is a good enough reason to just say it, “The truth is…I don’t want to do that.”
If I have learned anything in my fifties, it’s this: This is the decade of finding and owning your voice and letting the world hear it. I decided to do just that when this year I wrote my memoir, “Owning Patricia: A Story of Breaking Free”.
Here is an explanation of the 3 kinds of truth in women’s lives: Past, Present, and Future, and how you can use each aspect to unleash your power and create a future that is uniquely right for you, beginning today.
1) Show Me A Woman with A Past…(I’m Every Woman)
Your past truth was often determined by what others saw in you as you developed…when we are children, family and society often gives us definitions about who we are, should, and could be. Some of this information imparted is right on target and resonates with us even at an early age…such as when as children we demonstrate a particular passion or aptitude for sports or learning and we enjoy that pursuit and encouraged by others to do so. On the other hand, past truths such as religious and moral beliefs were handed down to most of us but probably not questioned by us in youth to see if they were a good fit. Maybe when you were age 10, you believed that it was best for a man and a woman to be married forever. Maybe now, if you are in your fifties or beyond, having been divorced (like me), you see male-female relationships with more realistic vision and understanding.
Consciously determine what past beliefs serve you today and which are a holdover from the past from other people’s beliefs and not truly your truth in the present. Make a pact with yourself to not let the past solely define who you are today.
2) There’s no Time Like The Present…(Unless You Are Running Late)
Present truth is grounded in the nitty-gritty, ever-surprising day-to-day reality of responsibilites and the challenges and benefits that come with what’s on your plate right now. Present truth is about not living in denial about anything that is facing you. It’s about having a plan and then being able to veer from it when there is fork in the road or the flat tire or the option of something better you never even dreamed of. It’s knowing when to call for assistance, admitting you are vulnerable and need help to get through something. It’s allowing yourself to feel the truth of what brings you joy and what makes you want to cry your eyes out. It’s the reality check of you are right now where you need to be if you just pay attention to what is showing up.
What do I mean by “what is showing up”? Well, let’s say you are running late due to whatever circumstances caused you to fall behind schedule. For example…
Did you really want to have lunch with the friend who consistently whines and bemoans on and on about her troubles? Is that really why you left the house without giving yourself enough time to get to the restaurant? The question in present truth is always, “What is Really Going on Here?” What do I need to admit, proclaim, own about my life right now?? Yes, sometimes the truth hurts. It’s not easy to say no to people who drain you. They will want to hurt you back (whether they do or not)—that’s the truth. It doesn’t mean you have to tolerate people just because you are afraid of hurting their feelings.
Your time is precious…spend it in the present with people who energize, enliven, and inspire you.
3) The Future Is Yours for The Taking….(Pack lightly.)
There is a great anonymous quote that I keep posted on my desk, which says… “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, my friend, anyone can start from now and make a brand new end.”
When you think about making a brand new end for yourself and a future that is happy and authentically you, be mindful about what you are packing to bring with you…most people dread it when they have to literally pack up and move because we all have too much stuff to schlep from place to place, whether it be emotional or physical baggage. It will be easiest to create the futures we want if we are carrying a light load. What people and things should be left behind as you move forward? Drop the thoughts about what could’ve been and never will be, make peace with the past, and in the present, put one step ahead each day towards what is truly meaningful for your future. If you don’t know what you want one month from now, one year from now, 5 years from now, then write out your future life plan. Share it with trusted friends. A commitment of writing down your goals has been proven to help you accomplish them. Post it where you can see it. Pack gratitude every day for the things that are good and bless what appears to be a struggle—you have no idea where it might take you, to exactly the place you need to be.
Do your best to eliminate all of the worst-case scenario what-ifs that run through your head. What if I lose my job? What if I can’t get a job? What if I NEVER have sex again?? (I’ve certainly thought that before!) What if I get incurable cancer?
What if my husband leaves me? As we have these fear-based thoughts, we can quickly spiral out of control and carry heavy baggage from one moment to the next. Pretty soon, if we are not careful, it’s hours, days, weeks, and years that we are living under a black cloud of negativity. I know, I have been there myself more than I like to admit. To prevent these “what-if” scenarios from happening to us, we sometimes mistakenly think that we alone have to handle these problems or challenges with no help from the universe or the people in it. It is then that we often force, coerce, and manipulate things to make everything APPEAR okay. Part of creating a healthy future is surrendering to the fact that we are not fully in control. It is our job to do the best we can with the circumstances at hand. When you believe, even in the most challenging situations, that good things will come into your life, doors open and grace comes through for a bright future.
You can order her book, Owning Patricia: A Story of Breaking of Free, today!