As we reach the end of December, our focus shifts towards ancestral legacies, wisdom, and the lessons that have been passed down to us. The influence our ancestors have on our identity is significant, and science is still uncovering the extent of this impact. In the fields of evolution and epigenetics, there are profound implications for how our DNA and epigenomes are expressed and organized based on our ancestors’ experiences. Moreover, their beliefs, worldviews, and the lessons they learned also shape who we are.
Sometimes, it is easiest to identify these patterns when we observe our parents and the belief systems they have passed on to us. We may have often heard phrases like “leave well enough alone” or “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and witnessed our parents living by these principles. They accepted things as they were and made do with what they had. They prioritized others’ needs over their own and chose their battles wisely. As adults, we find ourselves living by the same codes. However, this pattern did not start with us or our parents; it has been passed down through many generations, with minor adaptations to fit the times. If we try to deviate from this pattern, we may face criticism and judgment for daring to break the mold.
If we dare to change things, we may fall into the trap of binary thinking, swinging to the opposite extreme without finding a solution that truly works. Our ancestors may have done the same at some point. While one generation took a passive approach, their child observed and learned, choosing an aggressive path instead. This pattern sometimes alternates between generations, moving from one extreme to the other, occasionally finding a middle ground where both approaches blend to some extent.
We can gain valuable insights from our family history, their stories, beliefs, and worldviews. By paying close attention during our interactions with them, we can start to recognize these shared lessons. As we notice these lessons, we should reflect on how we have applied them to our own lives and whether they align with our values.
It is the responsibility of each generation to build upon the progress of the previous one. When we pause and become aware of these inherited fallacies, we gain the power to choose differently. We can learn from their choices, understand their impact, and have the courage to break the mold and find our path, one that feels right for us and strikes a balance between the choices made by those who came before us.
If you find yourself struggling to heal your ancestral legacies and discover your path, I invite you to schedule a call with me today. Recognizing patterns is one of my strengths, and with my help and support, you can boldly break the mold and start living life on your terms, paving the way for peace, happiness, purpose, and new beginnings.
Here is an example of beliefs and world views through 5 generations to help get you started. See if you can identify the beliefs and how they progressed through the generations. (This example was created as a work of fiction to demonstrate patterns through the family, any resemblance to actual lineage is purely coincidental).
5th generation past- Life was hard on the farm and they had to work every day, doing back-breaking labor, they were born into this life, anything outside of it was next to impossible so they dared not dream or strive for more only to be let down harshly. Sometimes food was scarce when the crops had failed to produce, and pennies had to be counted and held closely. They had learned that half a loaf was better than none and if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. That was the wisdom passed down from their parents too. They didn’t want to push their luck and stayed with what they knew. Dad was frustrated and tired, when he wasn’t working in the fields, you could find him out in the barn whittling away, trying to escape the rest of the family. He felt guilty when the crops didn’t perform and was racked with internal shame, believing that it was his job as a man to provide for his family. His wife was passive, content to keep up the home and children. She was always busy mending clothes, cooking, canning, or cleaning. She let her husband be the disciplinarian, always warning the children not to get their father involved. At the time, it was common for women to speak only when spoken to, and stay in their designated roles. So that is what she did.
4th generation past- Raised on the farm with their parents. They dreamed of a better life early in their lives, but over time, they learned to stick with what they knew. Dad would never allow for anything but tending the farm. One child dreamed of being a singer, wanting to travel the world and explore what there was to offer. Dad never approved and shut her dreams down anytime they came up. They couldn’t afford any instruments or professional lessons anyway, so she stuck with singing in the church’s choir. Over time, the children learned to appreciate what they had and not to dare ask for anything more. Even though at times, things were bad, they always made due. The eldest son vowed to take over for his father, doing anything necessary to keep the farm running, sacrificing his dreams, needs, and more. He was now the man of the family and all of the responsibility fell on his shoulders. A man must be proud but humble, never showing weakness, but always be kind to his neighbors. That’s what his dad taught him.
3 generations past- Born of the eldest son, and their aunt residing next door, they were brought up in better times than their parents, thanks to new technology and machinery that made farm work easier than before. As crops were booming, the family began to do well. But their dad still insisted they learn all there was to know about the family farm. They watched their aunt in church, singing her heart away. One time they asked her why she didn’t sing at the local bars, and she quickly shied away. She told them that one shouldn’t ask for more than they were given and that she was grateful for her life. Over time the children watch their parents and elders, sad and suffering, but refusing to admit they wanted anything more. One child refused to let go of their dreams, and when school was finished they went to college out of state. Dreaming to hit the big times, it almost worked, but he found himself back on the farm, fulfilling his family obligations, filled with resentment for the life he could have had.
2 generations past- The father encouraged his children, wanting for them what he couldn’t have. The farm was doing well, so much so that he had gotten offers to sell. The land was a legacy, he struggled with the idea of letting that go. With encouragement from his wife, he sold the farm and retired towards the end of his life. His children grew up and went to college, but their humble backgrounds still won over, so they didn’t go far. They returned to their hometown and got modest jobs in town.
1 generation past- Times have changed, but it’s hard to tell. I watch my mom as she struggles to find her voice, often she just keeps it to herself and only speaks when she feels it necessary. She stands behind her husband, letting him lead the way. She recalls times spent with her grandparents on their little farm before they sold it when she was young and recalls how her grandmother acted, doing her best to follow the model she was given. Anytime she tried to push it, she was chastised and judged for her choices. It was easier this way. Take what you were given, don’t push your luck too far. She busied herself with her job, cooking for us, and then cleaning. Never time to come to our practices or special events. Dad was the breadwinner of the house. He went to work and then sat in front of the television when he was off. Rarely did he interact with us, he said that was mom’s job. You can tell my mom is tired. Working a job, then coming home and working some more. Dad never raises a finger to help. His role is to bring home the money, and maybe fix things when they are broken. Often he just waits until it no longer works before he bothers with it though. The remote stopped working a few months ago, and instead of buying a new one, he calls us out to change the channels for him or just stays put and watches whatever comes on.
Generation now- After college I wanted more. I decided to move a few towns over. I saw how my parents were, I didn’t want that. I decided to put my career first, and maybe one day have a family. I want more for my life, but I know better than to push my luck too far. I ended up marrying a man who was almost as negligent as my mom and dad. I had a kid now though, so I might as well try to make it work. After a few years, I’m tired. I see myself becoming my Mom. I want out of this nightmare, but I’m scared to try to do it all alone. I see stories on the news about the struggles that single mothers face and think it might be worse if I divorce him. I finally try to talk to him about our problems but he doesn’t want to hear it. He is happy with how things are, but eventually, this starts a lot of arguments. I worry that the children will hear, so I pick and choose my battles, trying to stay for the sake of the children’s welfare. My mother and grandparents insist that I am being dramatic and should just let it all go.
What patterns did you notice in the example?
Were there any beliefs, lessons, or worldviews that you noticed were carried through the generations?
Are there any similar beliefs or worldviews that your own family upholds?
Reflecting on your family legacy, how many beliefs and world views can you identify? Of those, do any of them feel aligned for you? How would you change the others?
Feel free to comment your answers below.
Are you ready to break free from the chains of generational trauma? Schedule a call with me today and start your journey towards healing and empowerment. Together, we can explore your family’s legacy, uncover hidden patterns, and pave the way for a future filled with hope and resilience. Take that first crucial step now – your path to transformation awaits.