"I have so been struggling with the ‘things’ that I felt gave me ‘value’ and when I’m not able to (for various reasons) use those talents I’ve felt quite useless and without value. When I purposefully pulled back from places where I used to be, and there wasn’t any response I was feeling like a stick being pulled out of water. I left nothing behind but a fading ripple and a small dent in the mud below. I’ve been blocked and haven’t written for weeks as I struggle with the value of BEING and the value of DOING. I’ve got value, I’m valuable for WHO I am, not for what I DO. Sole value of a person shouldn’t be whether they are impressed by another person, or whether they can do something – it should be based on who they are and how far they have come to be there.
Where is my value? Where am I if doing the things I love or thought were of value to others are not there or not used? I fear sometimes, even through my prayers, that I’ll be foot prints in the snow – filled in and forgotten in the cold wind. I don’t WANT that, but finding my way through the reasons that I learned it from my childhood forward has been very difficult. My whole life was based on a few key, foundational lies, and now that I am dismantling them some of my former foundation stones are crumbling…do I shore up the wobbly parts or let them fall?"
My comments on Darlene's post at Emerging From Broken.
How do you make it balance or even make sense when your whole being seems to either hold or lose value depending on someone else's valuation of you? When you look in the mirror and you don't see what is supposed to matter but rather you see your failure?
Growing up I understood a few things, things I thought were truths, but have in actuality turned out to be foundational lies. Perhaps, to be fair, they were not intentional to start with but when they are still hounding, haunting and torturing me it is time for them to be brought out, examined and, hold on to your shorts, dismissed?
"You look just like your Mom." (But I'm NOT my Mom! We are two different people!)
"You act like your Father." (But I'm NOT my Dad! I don't act THAT much like him.)
"If you were a calf I'd have smashed your head in, you are useless."
"Shut up. You'll embarrass us."
"If it wasn't for us you'd be nothing."
"Everything you are is because of US, not YOU."
"Live your life the way we say or leave this family."
"You don't exactly have a great track record with ______"
There is a terrible expectation that burdens a child when they are taught their identity is not their own and that all the successes and all the failures of their family, the adults, are solely their responsibility. If you fail to act the way you are told, if you fail to think the way you are taught, if you rebel to find yourself, if your greatest crime is to reach out when you were lonely then you learn very soon that YOU have FAILED. You ARE failure.
When we are taught our value as persons is actually a value counted on compliance we lose the opportunity to really explore who we are as people. When that compliance is tied to actions, then our success or failure is directly tied to external things. When that measuring is in the hands of others, who use their power to control, then you, the child, becomes property, a novelty like a trained animal.
I've been blessed with the ability to be outgoing and appear confident even when I'm not. This often leads people to misunderstand me. Not so deep down I'm a woman who is facing some life long fears and quite honestly they cause me to quake and tremble. I'm going to be 40 years old this summer, shouldn't I have a better sense of self? I've been working on it.
Starting from the outside and working my way inward I've build boundaries. I've created structure and in turn I've found some scary places. Places inside of me where fears live, where old dreams live, where there is a frustration machine and a garden full of poisonous angry plants which grow into choking vines. I've been burning, chopping, digging and finally at the stones which are my foundation I'm learning which ones to leave standing and which ones to let fall.
(this post doesn't flow, it is painful to write and yet it is bellowing to be written - forgive me for this roughness)
What if I let them fall? Will I then be a true failure? Can it be okay to let the ruins crash down? If I let them fall, or stand, on their own without me what happens then? I'm looking at the foundation lies of obligation disguised as love, of being valued for what I can do rather than for who I am and tangled up in those two I find fear. A deep chilling fear.
Why fear? I think it is because of the two lies: that love is an obligation and that what we DO is vastly more important than WHO we are. Fear is the control factor in both. Past experience has taught me this. My fear is real although it is deeply rooted in a childhood response because really they won't come to hurt me now, will they?
What happens to those carefully maintained facades if I walk away? Do I have the courage to walk or will I cower around the corner? What if I suck in a deep breath and walk up to the door of that relationship and firmly close it? What if I don't stop there? What if I brick it shut? What if I move with no forwarding address? What if I just let them fall?
The achievements I have in my life mean nothing to me without the love of my husband and son. My honour amongst my peers means nothing to me without my faith. My waking hours are filled with grace beyond measure when I don't let the obligation, the fear and the devaluing expectations into that day. My sleep is peaceful when I'm not flinching from an angry phone call. My friendships blossom and grow out of mutual respect for both the scars and the healing.
To heal, to find out who I really am outside of those foundational lies has become a need I must meet. I need to be freed. I don't really need to understand because I understand enough to know there is no explanation. Sure, you could say, They don't know better. or that's how they were raised or the classic that's just how he or she or they are. But saying it doesn't make it true nor does it excuse anything.
Consider this your formal notice: I am no longer under that obligation to accept your actions or words. Stand or fall as you will but you won't be taking me with you. I'm walking away. No fights, no stand offs or show downs. I have come to the fork in the road of my healing journey and if I take one it leads right back to where we go around again and the other takes me forward. Maybe one day you'll be there too...you'll know where to find me.
I'll be laughing under a tree or walking by the stream. I won't be afraid, you won't find me by my fear. Come with love and you'll be met with love. Come with anger and I'm walking away.