"Freedom" painted by Kel Wilson
A few months back I was with a friend who was telling me about all the problems she was facing in life, which were overwhelming. The problems ranged from financial to medical and were affecting her whole family, including her parents and her children. She concluded her part of the conversation with this statement: "But, there's nothing I can really do about it."
I looked at her and said, "What if that's a lie?"
We were both quiet for a minute and then moved on to some other topic of conversation. She knows her life best and I felt that I may have overstepped our friendship boundaries with that question. I wasn't going to press it. After we parted, I got in my car and I thought about that earlier conversation. It's always easy to see possibilities when you aren't the one in the middle of the mess. It occurred to me at that moment that my friend probably tells herself that there isn't anything she can do about it as a way to protect herself.
If we are powerless, then we don't have to do anything about the problem.
I thought, "It's a false button she pushes when life is getting difficult--really difficult." It's her automatic, go-to phrase that is used to answer her dilemmas.
It occurred to me that maybe we all have false buttons we unconsciously push.
Then I had to ask myself my own questions:
"What's the lie you tell yourself?"
"What's my false button that I'm pushing every time my problems show up?"
I started to see that most of my problems had a common thread, or seemed to be reoccurring problems. There was a scary pattern that was becoming increasingly clear on my drive home. I was being haunted by the same problems because I keep pushing the same button!
Now I asked the most painful question: "What problems had I created because I pushed my false button?"
And I saw it...my false button, just as clear as day: worthlessness. Every time there was a conflict or misunderstanding I immediately jumped to a conclusion that the reason the problem happened was because I was unloved or unimportant.
The lie I told myself unconsciously was that I was worthless.
They say your life flashes before your eyes when you're about to die. All my past button pushing flashed before my eyes when I had this realization. I hoped that the thing about to die was that false button.
I thought I was playing devil's advocate to my friend all those months ago. It turns out I was really beginning an archaeological dig into myself and my past.
The Kraken of Doubt has many tentacles but the most lethal are the invisible ones.
I don't think I'm done with that archaeological dig yet, so I'm pretty sure I don't have all the answers. But now I recognize the lie. I realize that as soon as a conflict arises in my life, I automatically react out of a feeling of worthlessness.
And how does that effect my doing? Why would knowing that have anything to do with my painting everyday? I'll tell you: EVERYTHING! It has everything to do with with my ability to do what I love to do everyday. If I'm worthless what's the point of me painting? How can I possibly be creative if I don't even matter? If I am insignificant why would I give myself the gift of doing what I love to do everyday? The real truth is that what I believe others think of me is really what I think of myself.
"What is the false button that I push?" It is the "worthless" button.
This question was a key that unlocked my awarness to an ugly pattern in my life. If I choose not be powerless, I also have to ask myself,
"What if that's a lie?"
Own Your Beauty is a groundbreaking, year-long movement bringing women together to change the conversation about what beauty means. Our mission: to encourage and remind grown women that it is never too late to learn to love one's self and influence the lives of those around us - our mothers, friends, children, neighbors. We can shift our minds and hearts and change the path we follow in the pursuit of authentic beauty.
Photo Credit: Jenna
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