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Sun, May 26

Bud or blossom? A journey from fear to courage

Marta Adelsman, Psy.D.

Marta Adelsman, Psy.D.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” My bud-to-blossom story began with the first man in my life.

“Who the hell do you think you are?” My father’s voice spoke sharply, interrupting my attempt to insert my 13-year-old opinion into the grown-up conversation. My dad shot me down often with this all-too-familiar question. He often stated it through a menacing look or a slap.

These demeaning ways of communicating I liken to an emotional mower driving over my little self-assertive shoots, hacking them to the ground. Nothing remained but a shredded and broken belief system about my worth.

As a result, whenever I tried to stand out and move toward something big, who-the-hell-do-you-think-you-are would arise in me. For years, it warned of a terrible fate that would befall me. Dread lurked in the corner and waited for it to happen.

The voice never specified what that fate would be, yet, to protect myself from it, I became like a tight, fearful bud, scared to open and blossom.

In midlife, I realized the connection between my self-image issues and the internal voice of who-the-hell-do-you-think-you-are. I committed myself to serious personal development work.

Shifting the internal impact of early childhood messages requires serious reprogramming. Over time, I identified my self-judgments and stopped using my father’s voice as a weapon against myself. I accepted responsibility for my own inner lawn mower, and I quit blaming him.

I began to take action in spite of the voice. I started to write, and I pitched an idea for a column to my local newspaper. They accepted. The bud had begun to open.

While I still experienced dread, I continued to write – and even to teach. As I compiled many of my articles into a book (Why Wallow When You Can Soar?), the bud opened further.

My awareness grew, and I began to see my father as the victim of his own who-the-hell-do-you-think-you-are beliefs. With compassion, I forgave him. In doing so, I gained further freedom from the tyranny of the voice.

I continue to experience new opportunities to challenge that inner voice. I’m inspired by a quote by William H. Murray that says, when we commit to a dream by taking action, “…then providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents no man [or woman] would have dreamed was possible.”

I hope that quote inspires you to step over your own who-the-hell-do-you-think-you-are boundary. Let it move you beyond your comfort zone.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Make that day be today.

Dr. Marta supports people to blossom through her coaching and writing. drmartacoach@gmail.com or 928-451-9482.

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