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Back in the late 90’s, I launched an online magazine called Bella, promoting self and size acceptance.  The project lasted a year and was incredibly gratifying and healing for me, and, to my delight, for others.   From time to time, we’ll reprint one of our old favorites from Bella’s pages.

Put It On The Shelf by Laurie Toupin

So many of us have felt pain from the past.  We see the scars all over our body of the things done in youth.  The scars within and without.  We wonder why these things were done.  How could they have been done to us?  All supposedly in the name of love.

Many of these things were done by our parents.  The yelling, the blaming.  Always being told of what we have done that is wrong.  How could we ever be anything good, when we were always told how bad we were?

So as we grew, we said we would never do what our parents did to us.  We would never yell at our children.  We would never spank them.  Yeah, right.

So there we were, wanting that kid to just shut up!  Be quiet!  As we started to yell.

How many times did we have to tell them to stop hitting their brother.  But no, they just kept right on, kept right on until we had to give them a spanking.  No, not like our parents.

Then they were there never doing anything right.  Not doing the dishes, not cleaning their room.  Bringing down the whole world with their terrible deeds.

When did it happen?  When did we become our parents?  We didn’t feel it inside.  We looked the same in the mirror.  But maybe if we just could listen to ourselves on a recorder.  Listen to the words we have to say.  My God, is that our voices, I could have sworn that was my mother’s voice.

This is a time when you need to think.  When was the last time we told our child they had done something right?  When had we sat down and said what a blessing they were?  When had we last held them close and told them how much we loved them?  I bet a lot of you can’t even remember.

So now do you look at your parents a little differently.  Take a moment to look at some old pictures and realize how young your mother looked.  Not much older than a child herself.  Wondering what were her thoughts as that picture was taken.

So where the heck is that book?  Where is that book that tells us how to raise our children?  Where is the book that gives us the bright answer to the questions left unasked?  Where is that book?

Oh yes, we have so many thousands of books out there.  Every different way of raising a child.  Every different way to blame and the excuses.  So many books.  Again, give me a break.

Things were done in the past.  They cannot be changed.  Your mother cannot take back that slap across the face.  She cannot fix the scar you have deep inside you.  Only you can.

Only you can try to understand her fear when she lashed out at you.  Only you can decide to let it go, or put it on your special shelf.  What she did was not right.

So let’s look at ourselves.  Let’s look at what we might be doing to our children.  Do we want them to remember us this way?  Maybe in understanding our past, we can find the way of freedom for theirs.

Think again of how you felt for the first time you held them.  Think of the happiness of their first words.  Remember that, when you hear some of their new language that you do not approve of.

When was the last time you said that you were proud even though they did not come in first place?  When was the last time you listened to how they feel about their life?  When was the last time when you took the time to remember that they were more important then any job, or date, or inconvenience to take to the show, or game?

Take time to realize that your parents had no guidance book in how to raise you.  Realize that they had their dreams for you.  Realize their fear that they didn’t do right by you.

Only you can decide of how to forgive.  Only you can decide if the anger you feel inside is doing you more harm then good.

Find that shelf where you can put your demons, your fears, your pain.  Find that shelf so that you can take them down when you need to and hold them the way you needed to be held.  Acknowledge them the way that you wished someone would have listened to you.  Feel them so that you can rub away the tension to bring about the healing needed for you inside.

Take a moment to look at your parents differently.  Take a moment to look at your children differently.  Take the most important moment for yourself to know how to forgive and start a brand new tomorrow.