Doing Surgery On Myself

25043220Have you ever read a book that was actually a mirror into your soul? It’s shocking to see yourself reflected in the words. That’s what it was like to read The Emotionally Healthy Leader by Peter Scazzero. Then it gets worse, the author asks you to do surgery on yourself.

Not literally. No less painful though. Exploring questions like, “what’s my shadow side?” He describes it as the damaged hidden version of a person that strongly influences and shapes their behaviors. It sounds like the unconscious part of our minds to me.

The shadow side erupts in various ways. Acting out inappropriately when under pressure-triggered by a person or circumstances, saying things I’ll later regret. Like I did with a guy at work.


Not my finest leadership moment.

I had no emotional reserves left. My well of patience had run dry, and for two days I avoided people because I just didn’t want to deal with them.

Another indicator is saying or doing things out of fear of what other people think. I have problems here too since I don’t like conflict. What can I do?

Peter suggests taming my feelings by naming them. What am I feeling? Why do I feel that?

The second thing he said to do was a genogram. That sounds like either a medical procedure or a type of mail. It’s actually a way to look at how your family functioned over the generations.

Oh boy…

It definitely wasn’t that healthy. My dad didn’t have a stable foundation growing up since my grandpa was killed when he was six. My stepfather was a product of his abusive environment. That carried over when he married my mom.

As you can imagine, conflict and anger were handled poorly. I grew up with it, so I try to

man couple people woman

Photo by Gratisography on

avoid it. I don’t handle conflict well, and I try to redirect people before it ignites out of habit.

FirstNLR has two core values about healthy families and resolving conflict biblically. They’re novelties to me. I didn’t grow up with it.

While going through this book, I began to see why I do what I do. Not all patterns were destructive.

My family isn’t that expressive. Casey couldn’t understand why until she met both my parents. Then she found out I’m the most expressive one.

I’m only comfortable hugging a few people. Telling them I love them or that I’m proud of them is hard. Encouraging people is coming easier at least.

Knowing what I got to work with is half the battle. It’s a good book, and that was only part of the first half. The rest is about slowing down, finding a rhythm and balance to life, and leading from that.

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