Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

I did my best and my best is good enough.

14 Comments

My father was mercurial. A gentle soul who wrote poetry and read me stories and called me, “Little one” sitting in his lap, reading a book with him was where I felt safe when I was a child.

Unless it was those other times. Those times when the angry man my father could be would erupt and I would be catapulted from feeling safe to feeling exposed, unsafe, insecure, unsure of what the future held.

Because, while his nature was to be a gentle soul, my father was also an angry man. Within him ran an ocean of anger that could sweep across his being as quickly as a river flooding its banks when the damn breaks. One minute we’d be playing a game of scrabble, the next a battle of words would have erupted, its origins lost in the flood of angry words bursting through whatever ill-thought-out notion or comment had set him off.

In his unpredictability, I learned. To fear. Anger. Saying the wrong thing. Causing a disturbance. I learned to distrust. The present. Happiness. Contentment. I learned. To smile through pain. Pretend through fear. Stand still in every storm. I learned my lessons well.

It has taken me years to identify the impact of my learning. Years to dig out the roots of my distrust to find inner peace so that I could be present in the world around me with my heart full of Love and joy and peace.

And sometimes. I still get triggered. Into fear. Into retreat. Into silence or feeling helpless in the face of anger.

Yesterday afternoon I stood in front of a crowd of mostly angry, fearful people and I wanted to cry. I wanted to run. To hide. To pretend everything was all okay. I had been invited to attend the AGM for the community association where the Foundation I work for owns a building which houses formerly homeless individuals. The agenda said we’d discuss the community’s concerns in the final 15 minutes of the meeting.

I was unprepared for the change in the agenda when I arrived at the meeting in time for the discussion. I had been coaching at Choices all weekend. I told my team I had to attend this meeting and would be gone at most, an hour. I didn’t get back until the session was over. The, ‘at most an hour’ turned into 3. The discussion began with my being asked to give a presentation I wasn’t prepared to give. It didn’t matter. Within minutes of beginning one man jumped up to inform me that he’d heard enough and began to yell the truth as he knew it.

I am grateful for the moderator who did his best to keep the discussion respectful and calm. People really did do their best to contain their angry outbursts, but, in emotionally charged situations, people seek to be heard however they can. And sometimes, anger is the path of least resistance.

That’s the challenge of deep-seated learning. We all have it, and we all react in our own unique and adapted ways.

For me, the deep seated learning around anger that I still contain and that can still sometimes be triggered, interferes with my being present in those moments when being present is vital. It interrupts my sense of well-being, My knowing of my own competency. My confidence.

My deep-seated learning around anger leaves me feeling helpless.

Yesterday, in that moment, I felt helpless. I didn’t have their answers. I didn’t have their solutions. I had come to listen and learn and to seek common ground so that together we could find a way to create peace and harmony in their community. I had come not to be heard, but to understand and in the flood of their angry words flying at me, I found myself building a wall of self-defence. I found myself retreating behind silence.

Good fences build good neighbours.

A wall of self-defence builds resistance.

Building a wall wasn’t working for me. It wasn’t creating more of what I wanted in my life, and in that moment. I had to open up to what is possible when I let go of past learning to step into the moment fully conscious of the power I hold to be present and create change.

Yesterday, I stood in front of a crowd of angry people and breathed deeply into my knowing. I breathed deeply into my heart and invited each breath to open me up to expansion. And, in spite of the fact I wanted to cry, and almost did, I kept breathing. And listening. And acknowledging their pain and fear, their anger and desperation. I kept doing as I have been taught to do in coaching at Choices, to love the people when they walk in the room.

I stood in front of an angry crowd yesterday and was reminded of the fragility and grace of our human condition. I was reminded of our capacity to love and to harm one another. I was reminded of our greatness and our darkness. I was reminded, we are all connected. And when I can love the angry man and the screaming woman, I can love all of me.

I stood in front of an angry crowd yesterday and took down my wall. It wasn’t all graceful. It wasn’t all ease. But I did my best. And my best is good  enough.

 

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Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe we each have the capacity to be the change we want to see in the world, to make a world of difference. I believe we are creative beings on the journey of our lifetimes. It's up to each of us to Live It Up and SHINE!

14 thoughts on “I did my best and my best is good enough.

  1. You are so brave, Louise.

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  2. I appreciate your saying that Julie. I didn’t feel particularly brave at the time — I felt mostly scared! 🙂 but, there is that place where ‘doing the right thing’ means getting brave enough to let go of fear. Hugs.

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  3. Appreciative Inquiry seems a lost art at times. My heart goes out to you Louise and as an old boss used to say to me, “the calm one wins…” I bet you planted seeds of peace and change anyway! Love that you stuck to your guns – used the things you have learned at Choices. Love you. Love your heart. I tend to flare up in the face of anger, not a good response.
    xo
    Diana

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  4. Wow. It feels like we have had similar young life experiences. I was touched deeply by your admissions. I believe I can understand how it must have felt. The uncertainty, the cruelty of their words. There have been times I have literally told myself over and over in my head that , “this is about THEM, Sheryl. This is not about you”, and it became my mantra. That is until it was someone close that was hateful. Then I would collapse in emotional pain and try not to cry, at least until I had left the room. The word STOIC comes to my mind to describe the fence you built. A good and solid word. With peace somewhere in the middle of it. It’s wonderful to find that place of calm within you, when there is a storm going on!

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    • Thank you Sheryl. I like that word — stoic. it is strong and as you said, has peace in the middle. In the end, the fence is unnecessary because I am never unsafe when I can stand grounded in Love, knowing I cannot be pulled from my path, no matter the ferocity of the winds blowing around me. Because in the end, being grounded in Love keeps me safe from every storm. 🙂 Hugs to you — where are you? are you back?

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      • Hi Louise. Yes I am around and being a busy bee. Sister Darlene and myself are founding the “Down To Earth Spiritual Retreat Centre”. We are starting out small with Psychic Teas and giving courses. I have a strong background in public speaking so am writing new courses on how to build one’s life, etc. One is working on women’s issues around body image. I am giving a workshop in August at the Goddess Conference. Looking forward to launching myself again.

        Shall we do tea soon?

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  5. It must have been so conflicting for you as a child to have had the ‘gentle soul’ but ‘angry man’ as a father and, for you, not knowing how to behave. To ‘stand still in every storm’ is sometimes the best that we can do. And at other times, as you say, we can take down that ‘wall’.
    Whatever we do, to do the very best that we can is the right thing to do.

    “And my best is good enough”. I here you loud and clear.

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    • Ahh Elizabeth. Your ability ‘to see’ is such a wonderful gift. Thank you.

      As Joanne says in her comment — the challenge is always to accept our best is good enough — and to not rewrite what we could have said, or done, in our head constantly! 🙂

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  6. Wow! Thank you for these words. Usually I read you writing as part of my morning quiet time. I am away at a course so am out of my routine. I have wanted to attend this course for a long time and the time is right. Despite being very excited and thankful for the opportunity, I was triggered on a number of fronts today. My tapes wereso loud at one point that I almost didn’t hear by higher power trying to speak to me. Thankfully I have a tool belt full of tools and found what I needed. Reading your words tonight comforted me, I am NOT alone.

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    • never alone Colleen! We are all connected, and when we share our experiences, hope and strength, we all gain comfort.

      Hugs and beans — glad you felt less alone and had your tool belt on! Yeah for you!

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  7. When I read things like this I am grateful that I had such a good dad………………..it isn’t easy to be able to say one has done their best and their best was good enough so many of us think our best is far from good enough

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    • One of the things I have come to embrace about my father Joanne is that in spite of his anger, he was a good dad. He was loving and caring, kind and generous and at times expressed his anger loudly — because that was the only way he knew how. And in the end, he did the best he could with what he knew — and that is good enough! As an adult, my job is to see the best in what he did and let go of the rest — not always easy 🙂

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  8. Pingback: Loving myself in every light | A Year of Rejoicing -- Welcome!

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