I grew up striving to find proof outside of myself that I truly was okay. This was my addiction. It was 2 fold: one part of it was constantly trying to figure out what other people thought of me, and the other part involved modifying my “outsides,” morphing myself, to try and fulfill what I believed other people’s expectations of me were. Like all addictions, it was extremely burdensome, but I did it to help myself survive.
My family life created the vacuum, let the big question “am I okay?” go unanswered. The church that I grew up in contributed to my dis-ease, creating bars that held me back from finding the answer. Church introduced me to self-examination. I fully value being self-aware, but the purpose of this examination was to create guilt and shame.“Examine your heart before doing this or that… Make sure your motives are right… Man looks at the outside, but God looks at the inside [so make sure your insides are good]…” Constant, heavy, suspicious examination. This became one of my biggest slave masters and I became a master at doing it. I was striving desperately for the answer to my question, but if an answer felt “too good to be true” I doubted it. I doubted myself all the time, because how could I know whether my “insides” were good or bad, whether I was on the right track? This self-doubt was the root of my depression and angst.
At age 26 I was so weary. A friend recommended a counsellor to me and I was willing to try whatever it took to find relief. This counsellor was able to help me discover the real truth about myself, for myself. He was a light, already fired up, someone I could spend some time with to get my own light burning again. He was a master not at “fixing me”, but at fanning into flame the truth that was still burning deep down inside myself. The truth he helped me to discover was that my heart is good. Fully and completely good. No questions asked, no proof required, in all its ramifications and outward actions, uniquely beautiful and good intentioned. It was the kind of truth-discovering that’s hard to explain. It just feels really good, like Christmas morning… Deep down, unabashed, grinning ear to ear truth. For someone like me, it was easy to doubt at first, to be suspicious of. But after awhile, my hungry heart couldn’t get enough. For a time, I needed this source outside of myself and outside of the church to tell me this truth, over and over again. Now that my own light is burning brighter, I’m getting the hang of it for myself. I’m rebuilding my foundation, setting myself up for a life of living as my true self, fulfilled and excited to be alive.