Here’s a haunting tale…
Long ago (I mean LONG ago), one of my cousins, who I was always close to (our mothers are twins!), did something super sneaky behind my back. Without asking, she took something of mine. But, instead of confronting her, I just held it against her for – get this – 15 years!!!
A bit shady of me too, right?
I mean, instead of asking my cousin what happened, having the right fight, hearing her side of the story, and sharing how I felt, I sentenced her to 15 years of silence with an occasional odd fake smile and a “How are you?” at family gatherings. All the while, I lambasted her in my head, gossiped behind her back, and played the victim.
Gasp. I know. I’m the only human who’s ever swept, swallowed, or gossiped…*wink*
Consider it. Especially as the holidays are steadfastly approaching. Is there anything you’re currently stuffing that has nothing to do with a turkey and way more to do with a chicken (yours)?
We ALL have ghosts from our past, hanging around that make us go “eek” every time we think of them. Some we remember. Some we have buried so deep we think we’ve gotten over them. But, in truth, our haunting memories shape us. They shape decisions we’ve made and still make. They back our beliefs and theories that we hold true about ourselves, others, and the world at large.
Whether we’ve cheated or been cheated on, lied or been lied to, been fired, bullied, or bullied others, you name it, any memory that makes our hearts skip a beat when we think of it (or have pushed so far down so as not to think of it) we call a haunting. Because it does just that – it haunts us. We think it doesn’t bother us, but it’s there, stored in the deep recesses of that closet in our head – our mind. When I started working with a coach, I realized I had a walk-in full of such ghosts, but this one with my cousin was big for me. How did I know?
Answer: I didn’t want to deal with it.
I had ZERO plans whatsoever to ever ghostbust it or what we at Handel Group (because, yes, I’m now a coach myself!) call “unravel” it.
So what if said cousin asked me to be in her wedding and I said no? So what if I wide-berthed her at family gatherings with my not-so-convincing fake smile? So what if I gossiped to all of my other family members to get them on my side and let my ghosted memory slime my entire family? For me, it still did not fall under an “emergency.”
That went as well as you can imagine with my coach…
In no uncertain terms, my coach had me promise to call my cousin and resolve the haunt before our next session. She told me to apologize. Apologize?? What for? My cousin was the one who owed ME an apology!
But my coach insisted. She helped me see my part in what haunted me.
Usually (read: almost always), when there is a lingering haunt around an incident, there is more than likely a lie in it, whether it’s something left unsaid, something unconsciously stepped over, or misconstrued. Otherwise, the memory wouldn’t hang around so long. It would have gotten filed away, like all the other less-than-great ones that land under the category of “stupid stuff you did, didn’t do, others did, said or didn’t say in your tweens, teens, and twenties.”
I had to own my part. Namely, I had to own that I held onto something against her for 15 years, never speaking to her about it, instead, silently judging her, gossiping about her, and thinking she was the only perpetrator.
Subsequently, and conveniently, missing my figurative fingerprints on the “crime scene.”
A scene I have been in before. Not just with this cousin. With other people in my life where I’ve pointed, blamed, “can you believe-d,” gossiped, and played the victim, all the while, never ever having to do what spooks ME most: speaking up for myself.
So, there I am in a parking lot. My meeting with my coach is the next day and, of course, I have waited until the very last minute to keep my promise. I start to chicken out. Maybe it’s the wrong number. I mean, I haven’t called her in 15 years. Maybe…it will just go to voicemail.
Finally, 10 minutes later, I tapped her number and before I could even finish my sentence (“I want to apologize for…”), she picked up the phone and said how glad she was that I called her. We had a long, deep talk, during which I apologized for gossiping about her and holding something that happened in our twenties against her for so long. She, in turn, apologized for never having said she was sorry and also staying quiet.
One thing led to another and we, as a newly reunited team, decided to throw a 70th birthday party the following year for our moms. Our aunts, uncles, and cousins were so grateful to us.
You see, my willingness to resolve my biggest haunting didn’t just impact my relationship with my cousin, it affected our entire family, causing a huge family reunion that NEVER would have happened without that phone call.
I not only ghostbusted a HUGE haunt for my cousin and my family, but in the end, as my coach knew, I turned out to be the most busted of all.
Reconnecting with my cousin busted my heart wide open.
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Unexpectedly, my cousin passed away a few weeks ago from a sudden heart attack at age 49. I am still sad, shocked, and devastated. But I am so beyond grateful, relieved, proud, and inspired that I was wise enough to fess this haunting to my coach, brave enough to make that call, willing to ghostbust a haunt I was sure I had nothing to do with, resolve it with my cousin, reconnect with her, and love her up.
Truly, what’s more profound and worthy of our limited time here than knowing that there’s nothing lurking behind us, because we cared enough to look, roll up our sleeves, pick up the phone, and deal? One ghost at a time.
Learn exactly how to uncover and unravel your haunts in Module 7 of Inner.U LIFE! The online coaching course that gives you the tools to get yourself honestly and deeply happy where it matters most to you: your relationships to your SELF, BODY, MONEY, TIME, and more.