Another Freaking Growth Experience!
If you've been following our story you will recognize how easily my challenges with Jazz (my mare) transfer into relationships with employees, spouse, child, friend, co-worker, or self. To read the other lessons Click Here.
Jazz is full of AFGE's for me! The term AFGE (“Aff-gee”) was coined by Dr. Tony Speed, my most profound teacher until Jazz came into my life. It is an acronym for "Another Freaking Growth Experience". It's those wonderful times in your life when you face your personal demons and slay those persistent dragons. They are profoundly personal, sometimes painful, but they provide more joy and happiness to your life once you're on the other side of them! An AFGE experience can leave you in a dizzy whirl of pain and pleasure. I know that I've done a lot of growth when my hair hurts! Yes really, if I touch my hair it hurts!
I am sure my husband, parents, siblings, children and friends could have provided a laundry list of my shortcomings, if I'd have asked them. But telling someone their shortcomings compared to discovering them on your own are two different things. “Telling” raises ones’ defenses and a potential battle ensues with the person doing the “telling”. Discovering and acknowledging a behavior or characteristic hidden from myself, or my shadow side, allows for true learning to take place.
I have had many AFGE's from Jazz! On numerous occasions she has been “telling” me of my shortcomings and yes, we've had lots of battles. However, these have been very different battles than if the “telling” had come from my husband or parents. All of the “telling” and mirroring of my not so great qualities (or my "shadow side"), that Jazz has done for me, have turned into a great learning experience and have added to my feelings of being "whole".
The large AFGE's from Jazz have been:
I'm a Perfectionist: I like things done well. There were times when the results were okay, but I couldn't leave it there. I know it takes time to learn things, but I tend to push things. I wanted it perfect NOW!
While doing things to the best of ones’ ability is an admirable goal, you can go too far and drive yourself and those around you crazy with a perfectionist attitude. There are certain times when things must be perfect, like the surgeon that did my Lasik eye surgery last week. I expect perfection! I've learned that being perfect is a matter of degree and in many cases it is unimportant to have it "exactly perfect".
I'm Controlling: Ouch... that one is painful to admit! It kind of goes hand-in-hand with expecting perfection. I wanted the process with Jazz to be steps 1, 2, 3, and then 4 and when it didn't go that way I tried to force it into that process. I thought I was a caring and loving person, but came to learn when things feel out of my control I get angry and frustrated. I know what it is like to be in a controlling relationship, and how it destroyed my self-esteem. I've apologized to Jazz and together we've rebuilt her sense of self. Dang, my hair hurt on that AFGE!
I'm Obsessive: Being driven is one thing, being obsessive is another. When there is a goal that I want to accomplish I become so focused on accomplishing it that valuable data is completely missed or at times even ignored. Being focused isn't a bad thing, but having blinders on is. In my obsession I ignored valuable data that would have make it easier and quicker to reach the goal of riding Jazz.
I'm Unworthy: I expect a lot from myself. In many situations with Jazz I just expected that I should know how to deal with it. And deep down my negative self-talk had been that "I don't deserve to ask for, nor should I expect help with my problems or the situations I've gotten myself into". In reality I just didn't have the knowledge, education or experience to resolve the issues with Jazz. At times this comes across as "stubborn", but for me it is rooted in a feeling of being "unworthy of help or support".
When you notice "something" about yourself (those not so good characteristics, behaviors, or parts of yourself) that you don't particularly like or care for, you have two choices:
1. Ignore it: which just means it will surface again and again till you accept it and learn from it. What you resist will persist.
2. Embrace it: learn from it and accept it as a part of who you are. Doing so releases negative energy and their grip on you, allows you to become "whole" and it frees you up to move forward with your life and to learn new things.
Remember the 1993 movie "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray? It's a great story about the patterns in our lives, the consequences of our actions, learning lessons to eliminating the "deja vu" feeling.
What will you choose?
"Strangely enough we strengthen love in ourselves when we raise into consciousness the shadow side of our lives. Conversely, when we keep negative feelings out of sight, they smother the love that seems to lie deeper and closer to the real self. This is probably why there is so much pain in not loving. The life that is not able to express the love which is so integral to it grows deformed." -- Elizabeth O'Connor