By A’bria Robinson
For most of my life, I thought of myself as being mature beyond my years. I spent most of my childhood with my grandparents, soaking up their wisdom. Through those experiences, while gaining many lessons, I truly thought that I had people and relationships all figured out. It’s been through my work in a service profession that I’ve unlocked a major key to living a full life: releasing expectations.
As a family life specialist, I’ve had the honor of serving 38 children and families by creating treatment plans and providing tools to help them thrive. Many of these families have experienced painful traumas, leading to problematic behaviors with severe consequences for the children.
Many of these children have experienced traumas that I identify with. However, I wouldn’t have classified all those experiences as trauma if it weren’t for the opportunities to think and reflect that this job offered me. We were all children once, and none of us asked to be products of our environments, some of which were better and safer than others.
For most of my life, I have held on to expectations of people based on their roles in relation to me. I’ve expected people, including my parents, to always perform in their roles and perform them well. I felt that I was worthy of the best treatment (as we all are) from everyone in my life, all the time. It wasn’t until I grew older, lived through more experiences, and became a trauma-informed professional that I was able to see people beyond their assigned roles. Everyone in life is doing their best to “figure it out,” although this does not justify abuse or any other hurtful treatment.
Before I was born, my parents had their own identities separate from being my parents, and they still do. They have faced their own traumas and have experienced their own journeys of healing and growth aside from me, which is what they deserve not because they’re my parents, but because they’re human.
Releasing expectations of others has empowered me to focus on my own self-reflection and growth. I’m so proud of my ability to have healing conversations with my family, and that is because I have learned how to facilitate these conversations through my work. These conversations are helping to break cycles of generational trauma and empowering my clients to heal themselves.
This lesson brings me to my favorite poem, “Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson:
“And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.”
My role as a family life specialist truly brings me joy. While I do my best to express gratitude daily for all the people who support me, they may never understand the magnitude of how much they have helped me grow as a better servant to myself and those closest to me.
A’bria Robinson is a family life specialist with Beech Brook in Cleveland, Ohio. If you’d like to connect with A’bria, you can find her on LinkedIn at A’bria Robinson.