Healing Is Your Responsibility
Years ago, I owned a photography business and was shooting “Kahuna Klaus” (Hawaiian version of Santa Claus) photos at Hilo Hattie, a Hawaiian themed store that once was at The Block of Orange. A group of people had their photo taken with Kahuna Klaus and when one of the gals (who was a very young adult) in the group saw her image in a photo, she said, “Oh, I look fat!”
*photos do not depict actual people mentioned in the post
Many people looked at her incrediously because they couldn’t see what fat she was talking about. She was 5’2” and probably weighed 95 pounds. She came back later and told us, “I showed my mom the photo and she said I looked fat.”
To which I responded, “If your mom said that, then maybe you need a new mom. You need someone that will nurture you and not weaken your self-esteem.”
I also know another individual who is now a licensed professional in his field. He told me that growing up his mother gave him messages (verbally and through her behavior) that he wasn’t smart enough to accomplish much. Yes, just like the mother in the movie, Lady Bird. So, in highschool, he mucked around and didn’t get good grades. As a youngster with a frontal cortex that wasn’t developed yet, he bought into the messages that were told to him on a loop.
When you receive the same diminishing messages over and over, they become programmed into your unconscious and subconscious mind. You start to believe it is your reality and you function (or malfunction) in life from the wounds that were brought upon you by another wounded soul.
According to the Hindi concentration of Shraddha, “You may not be responsible for your wounds, but you are responsible for your healing.”
Make no mistake, abuse isn’t just physical, it can also be emotional and mental. When someone (especially from an early age) diminishes your identity, dignity, and self-esteem, you get beaten down psychologically, and the behavior and messages become your norm; hence, you may not even know you are wounded. How can you tell if you’re wounded?
Let’s take the young man whose mother constantly fed him messages that he would not amount to much. However, he did make something of himself by contributing to the wellbeing of others in society. How did he accomplish this? He told me he knew he knew something was not right and he had to do better than living a negative life. So, after highshcool, he moved out of his parents’ home, went to college, and worked at the same time. Away from his mother, he was able to shut down the noise of the debilitating messages he was given. He was diligent in his studies, read a lot of books, and he sought some form psychological counseling. In doing so, he was able to gain insight into his behavior and attain self-awareness.
However, in the case of the 95 pound young lady, there’s a good chance her mother also thrashed other invalidating messages into her psyche since she was a young child. It’s likely no one ever told her mother that she’s causing dysfunction in her child. Therefore, to the child this perpetual psychological abuse becomes the norm. So, how can someone like her know she is wounded and needs healing?
We all have to be open to what our trusted friends and confidantes tell us. Realize that our enemies will not tell us what we’re doing wrong, but those who truly care about us hopefully will. When they sit us down and in a loving way tell us that there is something off with how we think or behave, and give us valid examples, we need to listen, because nothing is more true than: Your health is your responsibility. Healing is your responsibility. Love You enough to place a high value on your Self.
Placing a high value on your Self doesn’t mean you should have some grandiose sense of self-importance or a need to be recognized as superior to others. It means you are honest with your strengths and weaknesses. It means you won’t take crud from others and will let them know it, but will walk away and not engage in an argument. It means having the courage to know when something is amiss in your life and do something to make it better. There is no shame in seeking counseling. There is only strength in it.
Just a caveat, the journey towards healing and individuation isn’t always easy. It’s similar to wearing braces: The dentist adjusts the wiring, and we feel slight discomfort because our teeth are moving in the right direction. But it’s a discomfort we can handle, and in the end, when done correctly, your smile is bright with teeth in perfect alignment. This is also true about one’s path to healing and individuation. We have to dive deep into the darkness in order to come up and see the light. As Osho stated, “It takes a certain darkness to see the stars.”
Credits: Photos - (first five photos) Doc Mele
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