Celebrating my 76th birthday

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I look forward to celebrating my 76th birthday with Larry and a few friends next week. I’m celebrating the woman I have become and all the ups and downs of my journey so far. I never gave up on myself and was determined to “Find myself and BE myself.”

Transformation and doing the “inner work” haven’t always been easy, but absolutely worth the effort. I wouldn’t be who and where I am today if I wasn’t willing to let go of old beliefs of not being good enough, worthy to receive love, and separate from the Source.

For many years while I was married, I didn’t look forward to celebrating my birthday. I dreaded it because I didn’t want to feel disappointed, angry, and forgotten.

After crying and falling apart because my ex-husband forgot my birthday, I was promised it wouldn’t happen the next year. It happened, AGAIN and AGAIN, year after year. I felt powerless and like a victim. No matter how upset and hurt I was, it didn’t change his behavior. I don’t believe he intentionally wanted to hurt me. I didn’t understand it back then but today I know it was passive-aggressive behavior.

Passive-aggressive behavior is a pattern of indirectly expressing negative feelings instead of openly addressing them. There’s a disconnect between what a person says and what he or she does. It may mean a person has difficulty dealing with negative emotions because they were never shown how to do this growing up. Passive aggression involves a series of verbal, non-verbal, and evasive techniques that indicate discontent without ever saying it. It may be an indirect way to manipulate, abuse, or punish another person.  

Here are some signs of passive-aggressive behavior: sarcasm, procrastination, subtle put-downs, laughed at, avoidance, silent treatment, forgetting, lateness, cynicism, and not taking responsibility for tasks they agreed to perform.

Do you have someone in your life who exhibits these behaviors? Perhaps it may even be you. My ex-husband and I both came from alcoholic homes where we learned the unspoken rules:

·        Don’t talk,

·        Don’t trust,

·         Don’t feel.

This isn’t about blame, shame, or judgment. We loved one another and did the best we could from the dysfunctional homes we grew up in. I didn’t know how to speak up and ask for what I wanted, I wasn’t in touch with my feelings, especially anger, and I expected him to read my mind and sulked when I didn’t get my way.  

We are often wounded by others and weave stories about our hurts that live on in our hearts and minds. We hold onto resentments and anger about our past. We blame our parents. We distrust the power of love and connection.

Forgiveness is the key to freedom. Forgiveness is not for the other person, it’s for me. Forgiveness has allowed me to open my heart to give and receive love.

I have learned to forgive the past, my ex-husband, and most of all MYSELF for giving my power away by not recognizing abuse and not knowing how to give myself the love that I craved from others. I didn’t have the tools that I have today to set myself free and live in peace.

Today, I am 100% accountable for my thoughts, behaviors, feelings, beliefs, motives, and actions. I am responsible for my happiness as it is an inside job. I can be as happy as I want to be.

I’m grateful to Spirit for the courage and willingness to set myself free. I am a woman giving birth to myself and the gifts God has given me. I don’t regret my past or anything that has happened to me. I have learned many lessons through my experiences that have made me the woman I am today. I don’t know how many more years I will have to celebrate ME so I will make this birthday the best that I can.

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Pat Hastings

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host

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