Breaking the Cycle of Automatic Self BlameBy
“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being” Hafiz
Have you ever noticed that when you are driving a vehicle, some of the things you do are automatic? I don’t really think about using my turn indicator when I am about to turn a corner; it is so automatic that I often find myself indicating when I come to the corner in my own laneway. When the brake lights come light up on the car in front of me, it is automatic for me to touch my breaks too.
When you are making the bed, or doing the dishes do you think about what you are doing, or are you thinking about something else? These types of mundane everyday tasks become habitual and automatic.
It is the same with the way that we think about ourselves. It was habitual for me to think that I was not as valuable as others; it was so deeply inside of me that I was not at all conscious of how I viewed myself or how deep my belief was. My mother often told me that I was selfish and I believed her. When I went to a 12 step program, it was very easy for me to agree that the root of my problem was selfishness and self centeredness, but it was not positive for me to believe that because my view of myself was wrong to begin with. Because my belief systems and my view of self were so skewed, even self help books and programs were not helpful for me in the ways they were meant to be and very often had a negative effect on me. I did not realize this until I stepped back and decided to take a deep look at the beginning and where the confusion started.
Getting back to the beginning was kind of like navigating a deep dark cave with long winding tunnels and scary obstacles. Carrying a flashlight that only worked some of the time made it even more frightening. I was afraid that I would get lost in the dark and that I would end up hurting even more. I was afraid that I would get stuck there and be forever in the painful part of the process. I was so afraid of the repressed memories; I was almost positive that I would remember something that I could not deal with. I was afraid that I would discover that it was my fault after all; that I deserved what had happened to me, that I had indeed brought it on myself and even asked for it. I was afraid because I thought the lies were the truth and the truths were lies.
In my mind’s eye, there lived a little girl who was about two years old. She lived alone in an attic; it was very cold and dark with only one broken window letting in a bit of light. She was filthy dirty, wearing a sleeveless and tattered little dress, which barely covered her bottom. Her face was streaked with dirt and tears, her hair a tangled mass and she was cold. She was unable to speak, and she clung to a broken dirty dolly. I had no idea why I had this image of this little girl in my mind, but eventually I knew that she was me and that was the self image that I had deep inside of me. No one cared; no one even knew she was there. No one was coming to rescue her and she knew it. That hope had died years ago. When I realize that she was me, I had to rescue myself.
The key is to keep going. Keep navigating that cave. Find your beginning and go from there. Have the courage to keep striving towards the goal, believing that freedom is on the other side. Keep going. On the days that you doubt with every fibre of your being that you can have this too, come visit me here for little bit of encouragement. As always, I welcome your feedback and comments.