“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer
(If you’re tuning in brand new to my blog (Welcome!) or to this series on Perspectives, be sure to read Part 1 that sets the stage for this blog.)
That little boy who saw the whole world as cracked is how so many of my clients have felt because of hard, painful, and traumatic circumstances.
And the reason I understand that is because I’ve been there too.
But it’s not just me or my clients or my inner circle of deep, thoughtful, powerful friends… it’s the whole world.
You can’t throw a stone into a crowd without hitting someone who’s gone through abuse, rejection, abandonment, betrayal, loss, and pain — and then, grabbing onto some vice to make it through — whether drinking or drugs or sex or stealing or cutting or gambling or lying or shopping or hell… even exercising or cleaning or attending church or serving at your local soup kitchen…
Yeah. Even that — we can even choose noble actions and good deeds as our way to cope.
Because if you don’t heal from what happened to you, you will find some vice that has more excitement than the pain that made you run to it. And that’s when it becomes our drug of choice.
When we act compulsively toward anything it’s because we’re looking for it to save us from ourselves.
But why? What does it need to save us from? From one of the greatest temptations that we face when we go through something awful:
Turning that broken experience into a mirror so that every time we look at it, we think that we are broken too.
Yup. That’s what we do. We go through some awful, hard, broken experience (usually when we’re young) and then we enmesh who we are with what happened to us. And once we do that, we can spend our whole life thinking that we’re broken too.
So, we see ourselves that way: As unworthy, rejectable, unlovable, unheal-able.
Doomed to failure
It’s a common feeling with people who’ve gone through abuse.
We take that broken earth we’re standing on and turn it into a broken mirror to see ourselves that broken way. Then, we turn that mirror into broken glasses and we look out and see a broken world — full of pain and horror and things we should be afraid of — the impending doom of whatever is the latest fear-based message that the 5 o’clock news wants to sell at 7 and 10 p.m. too.
How do we break out of the cycle of seeing ourselves as broken?
Like I said, I’ve been there, so I can tell you a bit of what helped me.
But first, you should know: I couldn’t see it for a long time — there was this thing in me that believed, on some level, that I was deserving of what I went through. That part of me that felt like a victim and everyone knew and deemed me as less worthy too.
So, I acted less worthy.
And then, I got into relationships that treated me as less worthy.
(Because that’s what you do when something is broken — you mark it down, selling it off to the lowest bidder, and settling for less.)
And you live that way as it becomes your life… But then, something happens…
Something that stirs the hope that’s in your soul, that wakes you up to the cycle because some hard truth outside of you or within you gives you such a strong shake that the glasses fall off and you can see that life wasn’t what you thought…
It was what you believed.
And you go through whatever process that allows you to say, “Wait! Maybe if I could believe it is one way, then, I could shift and believe it is another way.”
For me, it was different ways that helped:
My faith when I was 13.
Humanism when I was 25.
Stream of consciousness journaling when I was 26.
My father dying when I was 27.
Having children at 33 and 35.
Stillness practice at 37.
Leaving religious beliefs at 38.
My Taoist practice at 45.
Yoga at 46.
And so much more…
So many different opportunities allowed me to see that I didn’t have to look at life in old, enmeshed ways. And in the spiritual surgery that came as a result, I was able to see that I was separate.
A separate, divine, beautiful being…
A being that had things happen.
But I was not those happenings.
And neither are you.
You are still all of you because you could never be any less than who you are unless you let that belief sneak in and lie to you so much and so often that you believed the lie to be the new truth.
But here’s the thing: If it didn’t make you happy, peaceful and FREE to believe that about yourself; it wasn’t true.
Because truth sets you free.
So it must have been a lie, masquerading, after all.
And once you see that, you can make it disappear just like that!
(Or you know, after a few thousand dollars in therapy… that can work too.)
But the point is that you are the truth
And you are free.
You put on a broken idea
From a broken experience
And you thought, like the little boy who walked down the broken sidewalk
“The whole world is cracked.”
But it’s not.
And you’re not.
And that’s the good news that every religion and every thought leader and every great influencer wants you to know:
That you are perfect, whole, and complete.
You are not what happened to you.
And you never will be.
Unless you believe it.
Please, I beg of you with all of my heart:
Don’t believe it.