That's a horrible stereotype, isn't it? I try to be as politically correct as the next person - not toxically, though - but sometimes stereotypes persist for a reason. As we age, our beliefs get more firmly ingrained. The mind is an incredible tool; we tend to see things that support our beliefs while those that do not slide by unnoticed. As Anaïs Nin said, "We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." So, yes, as we get older, our beliefs grow more rigid and our patience wanes. Add to that the dawning knowledge that his time on this planet is running out, and ask yourself if grumpy Grampy is such a surprise.
See how easy it is to shift perspective? Understanding and compassion easily follow.
In all of my years working with a senior clientele, I have only encountered one whose grumpy nature I couldn't penetrate. He was a massage client, and things started out really well for us. His lower back pain had reduced significantly within three treatments. He was even known to flirt with me, much to my delight, because I had heard the rumour that he didn't like anyone. We got down to a maintenance schedule of every four weeks, so that his condition wouldn't slide back to where it had been previously, and something changed. He stopped seeing me, which was obviously his prerogative, but he also started badmouthing me to other Residents in the retirement community. He told them that he had been overbilled and that my treatment was inappropriate. Eventually, word came to me from upper management of what was transpiring. I was furious, as you can imagine. I had been a practicing massage therapist for fifteen years at this point. I was charging my seniors a minimal rate, because it was more important to me that they be treated and taken care of. I didn't put my prices up for over ten years! How dare he! Right?!
The thing is that I knew his backstory. “John” was raised in war-torn Poland. As a child he was beaten within an inch of his life for climbing his neighbour's fence and taking some apples. John grew up with very little other than a huge mistrust of others. What he saw working with me was that his back was feeling better and yet I still wanted to see him. While I knew that that was for his own good, and that he could have cancelled at any time, the little voices in his head told him a different story. He saw me as a person in authority asking, more likely telling, him to come back in a month. The little voices told him that I was fleecing him. He believed them which further reinforced his belief that people are inherently out for themselves and will take advantage of you, if you let your guard down. So, for the greater good, I took a couple of treatments off of his bill, possibly further reinforcing that belief for him. I don't know. For my part, I felt nothing but understanding and compassion for the child he had been, the hurt child that existed in him still.
The more I worked with people at end-of-life, the more I noticed negative emotions coming to the surface for some. Mistrust, fear, and anger are the three biggies. Since the beginning of my career as a legacy (formerly end-of-life) coach, I've come to understand that those strong emotions show us where we're bumping up against boundaries. And that is where the healing of past emotional traumas can begin.
We are taught to be mistrustful.
We are taught how to be angry.
We are taught to live in fear.
We are taught to build walls.
And we can be retrained.
The deeper I've delved into legacy coaching, the more I stand in awe of the growth and transformation I've seen in people and from people. Anger gives way to forgiveness, fear is erased by a sense of self-worth, and mistrust dissolves into connection. It is incredible to be a part of.
All of that also forced me to ask myself how much better off their lives would have/could have been if they'd made peace with their emotional traumas when they were middle-aged. Or while raising their families. How much of their trauma did they pass on to their kids?
That was the moment when end-of-life coaching became legacy coaching.
Leave the world better.
We use hypnotherapy and goal-setting, uncover limiting beliefs and core values, and incorporate every tool in our coaching toolbox to help you identify and heal your emotional traumas so they don't continue down your family line.
Christie Morden is a legacy coach serving Calgary and surrounding areas. She helps people of all ages and all levels of health heal their relationships with things that have happened in their lives, with loved ones - living, dead, or estranged - and with their own eventual and inevitable deaths.
Mental Health Coach