Upon reflecting on my previous post, New Parenting Lingo (56 things we should say to our children and to ourselves), I realized one phrase glaringly absent from the list.
But first, an old story.
When I was 13, I was verbally disowned by my biological father. The words to be exact were: “You’re dead to me. You’re no longer my daughter.” and they were repeated over and over again into the phone across state lines and into my ear, piercing my heart. I had witnessed a history of manic and violent episodes from him both with my mom and the subsequent women he’d had relationships with, but never before had he lashed out at me. Me – his one and only daughter – who still loved him despite all his failings up to that point as a father and as a man. That last conversation was the point at which I lost my connection to spirit, my spark, and would spend the next 35 searching outside myself for love and belonging. In fact, I repressed this memory for much of that time.
With the support of my husband and my coach, I worked through and welcomed a deeply powerful transformation of this old story this year. I have allowed some distance and some peaceful settling to this exploratory work and resolution, which is how it’s possible for me to feel ready to share.
First came acceptance. I accepted that this is an old story, one that had dug in deep to the darkest recesses of my psyche. I accepted that I’d allowed it to play both quietly and subconsciously in the background, telling myself that I’ll never be good enough or worthy enough and internally reading nearly every sign of conflict as rejection. I accepted that none of it was my fault: not his behavior, nor my mother’s tolerance of it as she stayed with him for the first couple years of my life, trying to make our young family work, and bearing untold abuses. I accepted that I am the only one that has the power to change my inner soundtrack. I accepted that I am strong enough to change it, yet had long been attached to the perceived heaviness of it all. (As a side note, this was about the time that I snapped this photo in an art gallery but didn’t recognize then exactly why it resonated with me, I just knew that it spoke to something inside.)
Once I knew I wanted to change my negative self-talk, I stopped resisting.
I felt and then released the pain.
I felt and then released the disappointment.
I felt and then released the anger.
I felt and then released the shame.
I felt and released it all until I held onto nothing more, until I was emptied. The remnants of all those childhood emotions having finally passed through and out of me as neutral energy back out into the universe.
Next came forgiveness. Despite zero connection in all these years, energetically I forgave his behavior and the emotion. I forgave the words and the tone with which they were delivered. I forgave his reaction and the lack he must have been standing in to say such hurtful things. I forgave him and his lovelessness, who was at the time in many ways an unhealthy child himself.
I forgave myself for holding onto the past and carrying it around on my shoulders, hidden yet wearing the bruises like a badge of courage on my wounded inner child. I forgave myself for walling it in, building a fort around the hurt and burying its rawness. I forgave what the old story triggers in me and the cycle of unconscious reaction in moments I’m suffering from perceived lack. (I still have to forgive this last one each time it comes up, but my recognition and recovery time is shortening.)
With this expansion came the profound realization that true worthiness and acceptance can only come from within, in conscious connection between the self (ego) and spirit. I get that now.
This didn’t happen overnight, and in many ways was like taking a warm washcloth to my heart and slowly, gently rubbing away all the tarnish, allowing for more light and love and elasticity and expansion and growth.
The old story of rejection, abandonment and shame becomes one of acceptance, forgiveness and peace. We all have perceived traumas, some may even seem worse than others, but it’s all relative because our own are just that – our own. It is only through acceptance and forgiveness that we can heal ourselves to create inner peace.
Through the years “please” has been coined a magic word, but there are three much more powerful. With these magic words, we release the energetic grasp of the old story. With these magic words, we begin writing a new chapter. With these magic words, we connect with our spirit, the essence of who we are.
So it is with peace, emancipation, and love that I add magical #57: I forgive you.
What will you forgive in 2016? ♥