This past weekend I was watching Disney’s Chicken Little with my son and I thought it was a great movie. I couldn’t believe I had never watched it before. It’s geared towards a younger audience, but it has many important life lessons to teach us. One of these, is the power to accept what has happened and the ability to transition to something new: closure.
I don’t want to ruin the movie for those who haven’t watched it and are planning to after reading this blog, but I do want to give a quick summary of one part of the movie that I felt resonated with situations I hear very often from clients. The piece of the story I found powerful was that of the relationship between Chicken Little and his widowed father, Buck “Ace” Cluck. Chicken Little’s father is having a difficult time raising his son as a single parent, he does not know how to handle situations, and often leaves his son feeling like he wants him to disappear. Abby Mallard, one of Chicken Little’s best friends, is always encouraging him to speak to his dad about hurtful things that have happened between them. Instead of listening to her advice, he tries to do a number of things to get his dad to accept and love him. Finally, the day comes when Chicken Little explodes and says everything he feels to his dad. Buck understands what his son is expressing, apologizes, and becomes the supportive and loving father Chicken Little has always wanted.
Life doesn’t always happen this way. It’s not as easy as knowing something is wrong, talking about it, and boom it’s gone. So many times we live a life with unspoken stories that affect us tremendously due to not being able to confront the person, for a number of reasons. Yet, when we give ourselves permission to feel hurt and talk about it, we begin a process of living a different life.
I remember speaking with one client that told me that during adolescence, his father emotionally isolated him and made him carry secrets that should have never been his to keep, such as having affairs. His parents eventually divorced, but he feels the burden of keeping the secret to this day because he doesn’t know if his mother even knows about the affairs. When he began coming in to see me, he would tell me about the on and off relationship he kept with his father, and how if they spent too much time together they would end up in a big argument. I eventually suggested that he write his dad a letter in which he told him everything he was feeling, “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” It wasn’t until one year later that he decided to write the letter. It took him two months to write it, and two more months to send it. He felt a mixture of emotions when he first sent it, from shock, to relief, to guilt, to concern. His father took the letter positively and admitted that he had committed many mistakes and would like to work on building a better relationship for the future.
Similar to Chicken Little’s experience, this client spoke to his father about unresolved issues. But things didn’t go as perfect after the initial conversation. His father’s response was a good start, but things have been rocky, yet they’re working on the relationship by being more open about past issues. Finding closure allows you to accept the things that happened and move on to a better future for yourself.
If you are having difficulties with your past affecting your present and future, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our Orlando mental health counselors.