I grew up with Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robbin in the 100 acre woods. The wisdom of Winnie was put into written format, drawn on paper, illustrated in Saturday morning cartoons, and made for films "on the big screen." I cut my teeth on the corners of The Complete Tails of Winnie the Pooh. In Elementary School, my nick-name was "Tigger" and I embraced it because I was "fun, fun, fun!"
The essence of my life has been shaped by many things, but the one thing that I hold onto the most is my desire to be loved. Not only loved, but to be accepted for all of my qualities; good, bad, beautiful, and even the ugly parts.
Sometimes life can make us feel like we're drowning in a cesspool of regret. Negative memories of past behaviors and subsequent consequences float around in our brains and they all cause pain. Keeping afloat in those dark waters becomes our only focus as we paddle, kick, and splash about in an effort to keep our mouth and nose out of the sewage. Exhausted and alone, life can get pretty messy and depression can begin to crouch in as discouragement and hopelessness increases. Turning off these truthful remembrances is difficult and the guilt and shame of the past can keep us frozen and unable to live our life in the moment.
As I've gotten older and moved into a season of grandmother-hood, Winnie speaks to my heart even more. This cartoon spoke so loudly to my heart as I read Piglet asking Winnie the Pooh, "Pooh, promise you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred." The reason it resinated? Because I listen to older men and women (my age and older) share how they are alone and fear growing older alone. Some share their regrets and how their choices in their youth led to words and actions they wish now they could take back. Those choices resulted in their children not speaking with them and how they reject their efforts to connect. These people who have come to therapy to find solutions and means of reconnecting are crushed when they learn that they have no control over their children's choices. I explain that they can only change their own choices and make better choices for themselves. I encourage them by adding that maybe their children will recognize that they are not the same person who created the problem and that they are open to any suggestions for reconciliation. Ultimately, everyone has a right to chose who they want to be in a relationship with. The past does not define your present situation and by being a better person (a new choice) you just might influence who the other person sees in you.
"Smiling faces make you happy, and good news makes you feel better."
We all want to be loved and accepted. Try loving and accepting the person whom you have wronged even while they are being unloving to you.
Say to yourself, "A legacy of love has become my focus and my purpose is to share it with everyone."
Day 3 of 365: Smile