One of the things that we can often struggle with as survivors of bad things is the idea that somehow we deserve all the bad things; we haven’t yet “earned” our salvation.
This can bleed silently into our days as we struggle with deeply ingrained feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and powerlessness over our lives.
The shame we feel – we don’t even realize or recognize it as “shame”.
All we know is that we never feel as though we are “enough”…
That we can never do things “right enough”…
As an example, not too many years ago I heard someone say that bad things happened to them, that they couldn’t heal today, because they had to suffer because they must have done something to have caused their own suffering.
This person believed that the abuse they’d suffered, the pain they suffered because of the abuse, the difficult relationships they experienced, that all of this was because somehow they were innately “bad”.
The thing is that not all of us verbalize it this clearly but our lives are a reflection of what we believe.
We are taught in the drama, trauma and dysfunction that something is “wrong” with us; that the problems that exist in the family and our lives are our fault.
This feeling of “wrongness” is often reinforced in the systems we seek help from.
Many of us seek support in the church and are once again told that if we “do” things right then we will be “saved”.
We may seek “help” from a therapist and be told that we need to stop complaining and blaming others for our problems; that we have a “mental illness” – our brain is broken is why we struggle.
Still not “good enough” and innately broken that we will never be “good enough”.
From our earliest memories we are shaped to believe that the reason we suffer is because something is wrong with us and this is often reinforced in our lives throughout our lives.
We often end up internalizing this message and it often shows up in our lives as:
- self sabotage
- an inability to follow through on things
- lots of incomplete and unfinished projects
- always running late
- making excuses
- decision paralysis (too many choices)
- over explaining ourselves
- feeling as though we need someones “permission” even though we may not know why or for what
- a deep unexplainable feeling of dread
- losing interest in things we want to enjoy
- feeling “zoned out” like in depression or dissociation
- unexplained anger or rage that to others might be labeled as “psychosis”
- a feeling of wanting to be rescued
- a feeling of resenting those who try to rescue us
- asking for advice then avoiding taking action on that advice
- deep feelings of hopelessness
- feeling helpless
- feelings of overwhelm
- feeling “crazy”
- inability to say “no”
- feelings of guilt or having “done something wrong” if we DO manage to say “no”
- relationships that are painful
- an inability to recognize “abuse” towards ourselves
- an inability to see how our actions impact others
- avoiding “triggers”
- and the list goes on….
So how do we change this?
When we start to see the patterns of our life as lessons instead of as punishment or something we are powerless over is when we can use our past and our pain for growth.
- The first thing we can do is become aware of what we are feeling, what we are doing and that we have a choice
- Understanding that we are the way we are because of the way others treated us, not because we are somehow defective or “wrong” is the beginning
- The next thing we can do is recognize that it’s not the rocket science we are told it is to heal ourselves and our lives
So here’s the process
- We recognize that we are expressing our ingrained learnings of “not enough” through recognizing our thoughts, feelings and behaviors that help us to identify it
- We ask “what can I learn from this?”
- We listen to our “inner/innate wisdom” that speaks from love – not from “not good enough”
- We choose alternate thoughts, feelings and behaviors that remind us that what we learned about ourselves in the trauma, drama and dysfunction and then was reinforced by unhelpful helpers – was a lie
- We repeat these steps as often as is necessary throughout the day until our new normal is a place of empowerment vs feeling overpowered
We struggle not because we are not “good enough” but because we’ve been conditioned to see ourselves as “never enough”
The belief that we can never be “enough” keeps us in a place where we are punishing ourselves and believing that karma/god/universe needs us to be “better” so we can “be better”.
When we understand that we are who we are because of our life experiences instead of seeing ourselves as permanently damaged, defective or diseased is when we can start learning from our life experiences and how to create a new life.
Letting go of the idea that it’s complicated to heal our lives is the first step to healing our lives.
Once we’ve learned the basics of how to recognize the past in our present circumstances we can also start over-riding those old messages and replacing them with new ones.
When we see Karma as Teacher instead of a Bitch….
We are in a place where we can feel powerful instead of powerless.
A share from one of my favorite websites, elephant journal, on the subject of Karma…
A photo posted by Elephant Journal (@elephantjournal) on
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