I conducted a workshop a couple of weeks ago in Milwaukee, Wisc. based on my book, “Coming Out To Ourselves … Admitting, Accepting Who We Truly Are.” The title of the workshop is “It’s My Story, and It’s Sticking to Me.”
Much of the workshop has to do with what we believe and tell ourselves, about our past, other people, and even God (Spirit, the Universe, our Higher Power).
One of the people in the audience talked about she had believed for years that her mother never loved her. But after she allowed herself to think about it, and feel about it, she allowed herself to recognize that her mother did express love to her, but in the only way she knew how.
She changed her story.
Whether we are aware of it or not, we talk to ourselves a lot during the day. And often we make assumptions and draw conclusions based on what we see, which is not always the whole truth. For example, maybe you went out last Friday night. You met somebody really hot, and exchanged phone numbers. They promised they would call or text. So you kept your phone close to you on Saturday, but they didn’t call. On Sunday, they didn’t call. Now it’s Tuesday and they still haven’t called.
What does this mean?
Maybe they got called in to work on Saturday. Maybe they lost your number. Maybe the reason they didn’t call is because they didn’t call.
But so often, we take it personally. We might tell ourselves that they didn’t call because I am too old, too fat, stupid, not lovable, or will never get a date, etc. Then we take that assumption and beat ourselves over the head with it, making future choices based on that quite possibly incorrect information. Nobody’s going to love me anyway, so I might as well eat that, use that, drink that, spend that.
Many people carry hurtful and hurt-filled feelings and memories about their parents. My parents were incredibly loving and accepting when I came out, but sadly, yours may not have been. Your father or other family member may not have ever expressed love or compassion to you. But we don’t know what was in the other person’s heart. Maybe they really did love you, and showed it in the only way they knew how.
A great example of this often affects people who were adopted. You’ll read in my book about my attending the Dr. Phil show several months ago, and listening to two 14-year-old girls and their parents talking about their very inappropriate postings on Facebook, Twitter, etc. When asked, both girls said they were just trying to find someone to love them.
If you were adopted, or raised by someone other than your birth parents, you might feel that you were thrown away — that you were not loved. But what if you changed the story? You can’t know all the details, so what if your birth parents loved you so much, but recognized they couldn’t take care of you the way you deserved, so they gave you to a family who could. You always have been loved, and deserve all the good that life has for you.
When we don’t know for sure, and we don’t really ever know for sure, we get to make up the story. So why not begin to tell ourselves a story that feels better?
Take care of yourself.
The Rev. Jerry Troyer, a native of San Diego, is the senior minister of Joyful Living Church, a non-denominational New Thought spiritual community. He is the author of the new book, “Coming Out To Ourselves … Admitting, Accepting And Embracing Who We Truly Are. Troyer and his husband, also named Jerry, live in the San Diego area with their golden retriever Roxie. Visit his website HERE.