Forgiveness And The Stories We Tell Ourselves
We constantly have a dialogue with ourselves. This inter-voice can get us to do and feel things that reach all the way down to our subconscious. This ego seems to be a separate entity that lives inside of us pushing a series of buttons that ultimately manifests into actions and behaviors in our everyday realities.
The last couple of months have been confronted with the thoughts buried deep within my ego. This confrontation has lead me back to the very first moments of my life, eventually working back to my present state of affairs. A quick, short lifetime of memories brought with it many feelings of nostalgia, happiness, joy, hurt, pain, anger, embarrassment, disappointment, love, and undoing. All the experiences and people that have been part of my life have shaped the ego that drives my inter-dialogue.
The ego is a collection of ideas that frame the way we perceive our own lives. The ego defines for us our reality as it builds the landscape we look upon. To help us understand our environment, we, in turn, create stories allowing us to feel more comfortable and at home. Whether you tell yourself that you are not worthy or fully worthy these stories give us a reason.
The biggest story I tell myself is around my adoption. With limited information and the need to make sense of my landscape, I have told myself story after story about my adoption circumstances and reasons for it. In my stories, I have been cruel saying that I was a mistake and I am not wanted. I was given away because I was not good enough. I have held tight to these stories throughout my life.
These stories neatly fit into frame I have lived with….
By seeing myself as unwanted, I have driven myself to perfection to prove my worthiness to others. Failure always comes with the deep emotional nervousness that I will again not be deemed “good enough” by my peers. I hang on to “promises” people make only to become greatly disappointed when they don’t pan out. But I guess it's not all bad, the feelings of being unworthy has also driven me to academic triumphs and to be part of many groups fighting to make life better for others.
Sounds like a bucket full of emotional train wrecks right? Yeah, I have been a mess sometimes…. But by becoming more aware of my ego and the circumstances that drive it, I have begun to confront my ego and the stories I have told myself over the years.
I am not anywhere close to being 100% healed and this going to take constant practice on my part but working through these truths allows me to build a new frame for my adoption story. One rooted in forgiveness and truth.
The moment came one night on YouTube as I was trying to better understand abandonment issues that manifest in adulthood. After some time searching, I eventually ended up watching parts of a couple of TV specials Oprah had on fatherless sons and daughters. On both shows, I was struck by this woman with the power to pierce to the truth of the matter. Her name is Iyanla Vanzant. She was present, tough, comforting, understanding, supportive, and skilled. I watched her help person after person work through their pain leading them to powerful breakthroughs. It was powerful. She even reached me, all the way across the Youtube Universe. What got me was when she told someone to, “Forgive yourself for the stories you have told yourself”. She had me shook. All the stories I have told myself about my adoption and why I am a failure and never good enough started to flood my mind. Deep down, I was upset at myself for always putting myself down and letting the adoption stories I made-up have so much control over me. In that moment I knew it was time to start forgiving: myself for saying I was unwanted and unworthy of love and let go of the of the hurt I feel about being given away. I am not going to let this control my life any longer.
NOW, I am actively working to forgive myself and let go of the hurt I feel about adoption. Every day, I tell myself that I am worthy of love because I was brought into this world surrounded by love and she made the decision of putting me in an orphanage out of love. She did the best she could.
The road to true healing can take a lifetime but by actively making the choice to live every day in forgiveness, truth, and love; I give myself the gift of a more peaceful and gentle life. I have made the decision that I will not be controlled by this anymore. But, I also acknowledge, there are going to be some days where I might not live up to the things I just mentioned but that is also part of the whole forgiveness thing. By forgiving myself for the days I will miss the mark, I can take note and continue on with my journey.
I want to end with a quote that I think really sums up this up for me. In Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life when Dr. Wayne Dyer talks about this relationship with his absent father he states, “Even though I’ve never known you, after thoroughly digesting the Tao, I finally get it! It is – and always was – all perfect. I love you.” He later says that by forgiving his father that day he was able to turn his life around. For me, this was a powerful statement. I was reminded that our darkest moments have ultimately had a hand in shaping our lives so far. To be cliché, without them we would not be where we are now. By moving to forgiveness, I recognize the impact adoption has had on my life but I am not going to let it control me the way it has in the past.
To that little boy inside of me, that is searching for love and worthiness. Just know that you are loved and always have been. Let yourself give and receive love. Be easy on yourself.