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A Legacy of Pain
By Deneen Marlette Joyner

Most adults over the age of 40 and upwards will at some point in their lives begin to take inventory of what their legacy will be once they are at the end of their days. Many will arrive at leaving behind monetary or personal possessions for their children and grandchildren.

Few will ever contemplate leaving behind a legacy of emotional pain.

Emotional pain is something that many deny having in their lives. Why is this? Because many people have been unconsciously taught to under value their own feelings.

Think about it, most of us growing up were never sat down and taught anything about how to acknowledge painful feelings or grieve unfortunate life events because our parents were too busy trying to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.

The ways we learned to interpret and experience emotional pain was translated into what we saw our caretakers model for us; which basically was a grin and bear it mentality! However, despite adopting these unhealthy responses and ignoring and numbing our feelings, baby boomers today are becoming sensitive to the damage created and now feel ill-equipped to process events that hurt them decades ago.

The framework of learned responses to emotional pain can be passed down generation to generation. The good news is that it only takes one person within a family to become aware of and recognize the former operating patterns and begin implementing and modeling new healthy ways.

Three ways to create a new legacy:

  1. Identify how pain was learned in your family (Who did you learn from and what was the message?)
  2. What are the primary ways you respond today regarding trauma or painful events?
  3. How can you model and teach healthy ways for responding to pain differently?

Deneen Marlette Joyner is author of Soul Wounds and Sacred Revelations. You can purchase Soul Wounds and Sacred Revelations at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, ITunes and ACX audiobook. You can reach Deneen at deneen@deneenjoyner.com.

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