• Debra Lee May

How to Reframe the Past

It seemed that giving it all took a lot more than I'd anticipated. It took my confidence, self-esteem, and identity that I had spent a lifetime building. I didn't understand these new feelings that left me with very little of the old me. I also didn't understand that people treat you in exact proportion to how you feel about yourself. It's an unspoken thing, but I could feel the change, and it further pushed me into despair, and anger began to fill my world.



Sitting up against the bathroom floor with my daughter draped over my legs as I rubbed her back. She was sick again. Another day this week, she was home from school. Two days last week and the week before. It was always the same, coughing and vomiting. The doctors said it was just a cold. A cold that lasted for years that never let up.


Un showered and frustrated, I held her with love. I would've done anything to make her feel better, and at the same time, I was thinking, how did I get here?


It was just a few years back that I was thriving in my career. I was making a name for myself and feeling so proud of my success.


I was also in love with this little girl, and she and her sister were my priorities now. I would do what was needed to make sure she was ok and that they both lived extraordinary lives. But still, the question remained, how did I get here?


It seemed that giving it all took a lot more than I'd anticipated. It took my confidence, self-esteem, and identity that I had spent a lifetime building. I didn't understand these new feelings that left me with very little of the old me.


I also didn't understand that people treat you in exact proportion to how you feel about yourself. It's an unspoken thing, but I could feel the change, and it further pushed me into despair, and anger began to fill my world.


This anger was not from or for my children; they were the bright lights in my life. The negative feelings resulted from guilt and blame for circumstances out of my control or my past experiences.


Years later, sitting in a hotel room with my heart full of intense gratitude and entirely in love with my life, I am still asking the same question: How did I get here?


The story never changed, yet I am light years away from the feelings of that day. Today, I feel younger, stronger, healthier, and thoroughly excited (almost in awe) of how my life transformed and what's ahead. Other than my daughters grew up, not much more physically changed.


The things that angered me in the past never changed. You can't change what has already happened. The only thing that changed is how you look at it and what you allow to trigger you.


Today I am so grateful for those same experiences that made me who I am. I reframed the memories, and I changed my angry feelings to gratitude for the lesson, and I'm so thankful for every moment of my life.

  • The difficulties in my childhood that pushed me to the heights I climbed

  • The relationships I witnesses that drove me to my husband

  • Growing up in my family taught me what I did and didn't want for my children.

  • My daughter's illness taught me empathy and understanding of sickness and gratitude for health.

  • Living far away from my children instills in me the power of being present in the moments I am with them.

  • Losing the feelings of confidence and identity helps me to understand the importance of self-love and grace.

  • Experiencing overwhelm during life's transitions helps me to know how other women feel in similar situations.

And the list goes on into infinity.


I am still asking the same question, how did I get here? How did I get to these new heights of happiness, family, career, and outlook? How did I go from despair to enlightenment when my past never changed?


I decided to appreciate the people and the moments that made me, me. Instead of heartache from the past, you can choose to allow it to empower you and give more meaning to your present life. You find that the universe is always working for you and in your favor, never against you.

Nothing has changed, yet everything has changed, and looking back, I wouldn't change a thing.



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