So many self-help books teach you to bury your past and just focus on your future. The truth is that you can't create the life of your dreams until you understand the gifts you have already received. As long as you keep burying your past, ignoring it, or just pretending that it never existed, you will always feel stuck. When you can understand the value of each experience that you have had in your life, then and only then can your life take off.
In this unique work, Your Past is a Gift, you will learn:
Who you truly are
The purpose of your relationships
How to learn from your mistakes, rather than avoiding them
What's holding you back from living the life you always dreamed of having
Why you are angry or frustrated all the time
The truth about your money issues
Why you keep sabotaging your best efforts to be happy
The reason you feel alone, regardless of how many people you have in your life
Hollie Belle invites you to use this book as your journal, start the process today, and fall in love with your life. You deserve to be happy.
|Publisher:||Balboa Press AU|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
My life ended when I was five years old. At least life as I knew it.
Hi, my name is Hollie, and I was the firstborn child. I was born in Adelaide, Australia. My parents were immigrants who had traveled from Malta in search of a better life for their family. I was named after my neighbor. She was a lovely English lady. My parents just found her name so different from all the Maltese names they knew. I guess they wanted me to have a unique name.
Apparently, I had hair all over my body when I was born. It was so rare that the nurses kept coming up to the window to look at me. All of the other babies were fair and with very sparse hair. Some had no hair at all. I even had hair on my face. My Dad said that I looked so much like a monkey, that it made my Mom cry. Great! I'd barely been in the world for a few hours and already was making an impact.
I came into the world just two years after they arrived in Australia, so it was a very stressful time for them. My parents were in a foreign country, learning a foreign language with a newborn baby.
With no money in their pockets, they had taken the plunge and decided to try a new place. That was why they came to Australia. Mom and Dad came all this way in the hope that they could give us, their children, everything we could ever need or want.
My dad was the youngest of eleven children. He was born on a farm, and life there was very rough. As Dad was needed to help with all the work on the farm from quite a young age, he wasn't able to complete primary school. School was not a vital part of survival in my dad's childhood. Dad's parents did not display any signs of love or affection towards him because it was regarded as a sign of weakness. And boys especially had to be strong. If Dad was "naughty" or did something "wrong," he copped quite severe beatings from his father.
My Grandfather used his belt to hit Dad. He hit my dad until his arm was tired and he was unable to strike him with the belt anymore. It was the same for all the siblings. The older siblings were resentful of, the younger ones because, by the time they were born, my Grandfather was more elderly and wasn't able to punish the younger brothers as severely as he had punished them.
These beatings would leave my dad bedridden for two to three days at a time. It was considered the only way to ensure that your children would be good, honest citizens in society. The fear of raising thieves, murderers, or rapists was too high. That was the ultimate sign that you had not done a good job with your children. You had been too soft on them. It was the worst thing that could happen to you. The point was to make the child too afraid to commit the same mistake again. If the punishment were harsh enough, the child would remember and not repeat that mistake.
Both of my Mom's parents died when she was five years old. They perished in an accident at a very young age. So one of my Mom's aunts, adopted my Mom and her two sisters, even though she had six children of her own. This aunt felt that my Mom was a burden. An extra strain financially and was an extra mouth to feed. Mom had to start working at a very young age to help put food on the table. Having to work at such an early age meant that she didn't get to finish primary school, which was a shame because she loved learning. For being disobedient, my Mom was punished with severe beatings as well. For my parents, this was a normal childhood, where hunger and extreme physical violence were a way of life.
In truth, my Mom and I had one thing in common. Something happened to us at the age of five that would change the way we viewed the world and life itself. It's nice to know we had something in common because I've spent my whole childhood with a sense of not belonging, and I was sure that I was adopted. I felt there was no way these could be my birth parents.
I learned from a very young age to become self-reliant. My parents were so busy making ends meet and just surviving out here in Australia that I had to figure out how to do things for myself.
As a toddler, I wasn't very affectionate. At least that is what my parents have told me. That and the fact that I was a fussy eater. I was not a cuddly child, and I enjoyed playing on my own most of the time. If someone tried to play with my toys, I became annoyed at them. I didn't like being hugged or kissed too much, and I imagine that for two people who had spent their entire lives yearning for love, this must have been difficult for my parents.
Perhaps I was aloof and liked playing on my own so much because my parents were working so hard all the time and must have been exhausted when they were home. They were in a foreign country struggling to make ends meet in the beginning. They were learning a new language with no family or friends to support them. It took lots of courage for my parents to immigrate to Australia on their own, especially as I was born a few short years after their arrival just to spice things up a little bit.
My Mom worked the night shift in a factory. Dad worked long hours during the day as a bricklayer building houses. They worked these jobs so that one of them could always be with me as I was growing up. I had Mom during the day and Dad at night-time for a while.
We moved around a lot with my Dad's work. Just to give you an idea, we had moved thirteen times by the time I was six years old. If we couldn't live closer to Dad's work for whatever reason, there would be weekends when he would stay on site because it was too far for him to come back home.
This chapter is the shortest of all the chapters, as I only have memories of what happened before I was five years old, with little recollection of any thoughts. The only ideas I can recall were sheer and utter joy, wonder, and curiosity.
For example, I had a fascination with snails and the silver trails they left behind. Spending my mornings collecting as many as I could find in the garden, just to watch them slither away and leave these silver lines behind them. In my mind, they were magical.
Sofia, the first of my cousins, arrived in Australia shortly after my third birthday. She was also the firstborn child in her family and only six months older than I. We must have made an instant connection as we have been best friends our entire lives. It could be that we always found ourselves in the same boat: with parents in a foreign country who couldn't speak the language and spent most of their days working to provide us with everything we needed to live. At least now we had each other and our love for one another. When we were together, nothing else mattered.
A year later, my cousins Christopher and Maria arrived in Australia. Maria would be crucial to me throughout my childhood. She was four years older than I, and it always felt like she was our mother hen, watching over us and making sure that we were safe.
I always felt so loved when I was with her. She was what I associated with unconditional love. Her brother, Christopher, taught us just to have fun and be silly. He always knew how to make us laugh. Christopher was a year older than I, and he was the clown. As you can see, I was the youngest of the pack, at least for the time being.
My cousins coming to Australia was a critical moment in my life because no matter what I have been through, our love for each other has always remained constant. I knew they were always there for me, and I knew that they adored me as much as I adored them. I could always count on their love whenever I needed it, and I had an infinite amount of love to give to them if they ever needed it. It was a love I gave away happily, no strings attached. I never needed anything in return. It just made me happy to be a part of their lives and have them in my life.
Another memory I have is of my parents buying a puppy dog. His name was Floppy. He was a Jack Russell terrier. I think my parents brought him home so that I would have company. Memories seem to have such an impact at this early age. Before I turned five, a huge German shepherd attacked our little dog. Jack Russells are very territorial and overprotective of their families, and I think they forget their size.
My parents told me that he was at the vet's and would be home soon. They were hoping that I would forget about him, being so young, and eventually, stop asking about him. I guess they didn't know how to explain to a four-year-old that he had died. After weeks of me waiting at the window for Dad's arrival in the hope that I would see my dog again, my parents sat me down and told me that he wasn't coming back home.
To this day this memory haunts me. I have been taking our dogs for walks for many years, but dogs off lead have attacked my dog who is nine years old. My dog has been attacked four times now. I know I have attracted these events with my thoughts about this old fear, but it is so deep in my subconscious mind that specific help will be required to overcome this issue.
Overcoming this fear is currently on my to-do list. It doesn't help that years later my parents brought home another dog of the same breed and he died in the same way. Not with the same German shepherd, though!
Moving along, I remember a trip to the hospital at the age of four to have my tonsils removed. I was so thrilled to be in the hospital because I could eat as much ice cream and jelly as I wanted. When I came out of the operation, my parents surprised me with a gorgeous doll that was half my height. She was the biggest princess I had ever seen. She was beautiful.
There was a much older girl in the bed next to mine. She would have been about ten years old. She asked if she could play with my doll when my parents had left, and as I wasn't feeling well enough to play with her myself, I didn't see the harm. When I woke up after many hours of sleep, she returned the doll to me. My doll was now broken. She didn't apologize for breaking it. Her parents didn't offer to replace her with a new one. She broke my toy before I even got to play with her and all I got from my Mom was that it was my fault because I should never have let that older girl play with it.
This incident would have upset my Mom immensely. This doll would have been very costly to my parents, and she was heartbroken that I didn't even get to play with her myself. Her reaction was her way of dealing with the anger of someone else breaking my doll. This event has taught me not to get attached to things.
This lesson would repeat itself over and over again in my life. It also taught me not to trust others with my belongings because they don't care. Today I have learned that how we treat our belongings and the possessions of others, says a lot about how we feel about ourselves.
Other memories I have of this time in my life are of my Dad teaching me how to brush my teeth. Bindies in the garden and bee stings because they were both so painful, how can you forget that? I also recall a creek that ran on the other side of the road.
I remember being under five when Mom and I would travel on the bus or a train, and staring at strangers. Mom was always telling me that it was rude and that I shouldn't stare, but I knew that if I kept looking at them, that eventually they would look at me. When they did finally make eye contact, I would smile, and they always smiled back. I never had a stranger that didn't smile back, and this made me feel connected to that person.
In reality, my Mom was trying to keep me safe as she thought the world was a dangerous place and that I was too trusting. She was worried that this would not be good in the future when I was older. The world being a hostile place was the one thing that was continually reinforced throughout my childhood. That the world is not a safe place and that you can't trust anyone except Mom and Dad.
Now I distinctly remember one morning, I had a play date with a friend the same age as me. Her name was Caroline. Outside in the garden, we found all these red berries on a bush and decided we were going to make medicine with them. We were crushing the little seeds into a bowl. The next minute, my friend was crying and screaming at the top of her lungs. "What on earth is wrong with her?" I thought. I rubbed my eyes and discovered exactly what was wrong with her. This stuff stings and burns and aaarrgghhhh. As four-year-olds do, we just kept rubbing our eyes hoping the pain would subside, but it just got worse. Eventually, our parents washed our eyes out with a lot of water and the pain slowly disappeared.
I was extremely curious about death. I'm not sure why. I also don't know if we are all born with this curiosity or if it was just me. I remember at the age of four being fascinated with death. One morning, my Mom walked into my room, and I was holding my breath pretending I was dead. Well, I can tell you when she started screaming and crying, I started breathing again. I wanted to know what it felt like to be dead. What does it mean to be dead? But I think, more importantly, the question was: What happens when you die?
Now age four was a pretty exciting time because I had been watching Sesame Street for years and they kept talking about this amazing place called school. At four I was allowed to start preschool, and I could not wait to get started. I had a love of learning, and as neither of my parents had a complete education, I had to figure things out on my own, at least until I could read by myself.
My first day of preschool was such a disappointment. All I remember doing that day was sticking cotton wool to a piece of paper to pretend they were clouds in the sky. But I wanted to know how the clouds form and why is the sky blue and where does the water come from when it rains ... I had so many questions and sticking cotton wool to a piece of paper with glue was not quite what I had in mind when I said I wanted to learn about the world.
At preschool, I discovered another concept that I knew nothing about it. Most of the other children talked about having brothers and sisters. What are brothers and sisters? Why don't I have one? They sound like fun. Maria and Christopher hadn't arrived from Malta yet. It was just Sofia and me at this point.
I should ask Mom and Dad if we can get one because apparently, that's who you ask if you want one of those. I felt that it was imperative to have one too. Having a sister felt important in my life. Like it was something I needed to have. I didn't want to be the only one missing out on these amazing things called siblings.
So, several months after my fifth birthday my sister Anna was born. She was named after my Grandmother on my Mom's side of the family. My life as I knew it was over. My sister was getting all of my mom's attention, all of my mom's affection, all of my Mom. All of my Mom belonged to her now. I was devastated. In my eyes, I was dead to my Mom. Unwanted, unlovable, obsolete. This moment is where I developed a sense of invisibility.
In truth, now that I can see with clarity, my Mom was just giving my sister the same amount of care and attention that she had given me when I was born. I couldn't remember that my mother had done all of that for me five years before my sister's birth. As I was now Miss Independent because I am five years old, all I could see was that Mom no longer wanted me. I assumed that she preferred my sister.
So I became a Daddy's girl because I didn't want my Mom to know how much she had hurt me. I pretended that I was all right and happy and didn't care that I felt tossed aside like a toy that you no longer want to play with because you have a new one. Feeling so betrayed, I felt that you can't trust anyone because they will only take their love away. Just like my Mom had done. I was so angry with her. How dare she treat me like I am nothing? Like I don't matter. Like I am invisible! And the most difficult question of all that I asked myself for most of my life: "Why bring me into the world if she didn't want me?"
My Dad's love has never changed. It has always been my rock. Whenever things got rough, there was always this place I could go to where I felt safe and loved. It was my first introduction to unconditional love. He was my hero and more than anything I wanted to be just like him when I grew up. He loved me just as I was. I never had to earn his love or win his approval. He just loved me.
Why was I excluded from all of my sister's activities when she was a baby? My Mom said that she didn't have my sister so that she would be a burden to me. She didn't like it when other moms had several children, and the eldest had to care and tend for their younger siblings. I guess this is how she had grown up. My Mom practically raised her two sisters, as my great aunt had her hands full with her children. Mom believed that it was her duty to raise my sister and that I should be free to be a kid ... to have fun, to be silly, to be carefree.
Excerpted from "Your Past is a Gift"
Copyright © 2017 Hollie Belle.
Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Who Do You Think You Are?, 1,
Chapter 2: Collecting Evidence, 18,
Chapter 3: What Are Your Strengths?, 38,
Chapter 4: The Purpose of Your Relationships, 54,
Chapter 5: Learning From Your Mistakes, 71,
Chapter 6: What's Holding You Back?, 89,
Chapter 7: Why Are You So Angry?, 108,
Chapter 8: Making Amends, 126,
Chapter 9: What Are You Waiting For?, 142,
Chapter 10: Starting the Process of Healing, 161,
Chapter 11: My Mom, 171,
Chapter 12: My Dad, 180,
Chapter 13: My Sister, 187,
Chapter 14: Daniel, 192,
Chapter 15: Emily, 197,
Chapter 16: My Daughter, 201,
Chapter 17: Thoughts Today, 208,
Chapter 18: Your Life, 223,
About the Author, 249,