Your life is a mirror peopled with the forms of your own acceptance. ~Ernest Holmes
I am creating my reality with my thoughts, words, and actions.
Namaste’ Fellow Travelers,
Too Much Gold to Flush is a book I wrote exploring what I learned about myself when my husband of three months dumped me. One of the most painful realizations I ultimately had to come to terms with was my ex’s actions reflected exactly what I thought I deserved. At a gut level, I knew my inability to create a healthy intimate relationship was somehow entangled with my childhood beliefs about men. Yet, I was not able to separate what I knew in my head from what I believed in my heart. Because I am so stubborn, it took experiencing a few cosmic two-by-fours up-side my head before I connected my beliefs and expectations with my realities.
My notions around what constituted a healthy relationship stood in my way of having one. My concepts formed in childhood lay the foundation for the the belief system I used to determine viable ‘marriage material’ as my grandma used to say. Setting and culture contributed their part. I grew up in an environment that considered women inferior to men. I saw this played out in my father’s clear preference to sons over daughters. The ultra conservative Panhandle of Texas as well as the traditional religious atmosphere of my youth supported a message of lowliness where women were concerned. Also growing up in this environment, my mother saw herself as subservient to my father, thus creating a model of inferiority that I replicated in spite of my vow not to. The overriding belief I took away from this upbringing was the ideology that Dad was always right, which all of my family supported, no matter how illogical or wrong his decisions proved to be.
I saw all of this when reflecting on my formative years, and mentally I knew better, but in my heart, I could not convince the child within me that I was right. Overriding everything else, I grew up wanting desperately to feel my father’s love. As a result, I subconsciously sought someone similar to him, illogically reasoning this would somehow heal my scars of childhood. The very qualities that attracted me to my second husband, a self-centered narcissist, was the reason he dumped me. Initially, I was devastated, and I felt down right stupid when I saw how I had created a situation doomed to fail. Yet, I was determined to learn from this experience so as not to repeat it, which prompted me to explore beyond the obvious (he was a jerk and I was stupid.)
First of all, I examined the difference between operating from the perspective of my soul versus my ego being in charge of my thinking. When I put my ego or humanness in charge, my brain shifts from supplying information and skills, to dredging up fearful beliefs and expectations and operating on them, thus allowing my fears to take over my thinking and my life. If I operate from my Inner Truth, my soul, I am receptive to new possibilities, change, and growth.
Next, I am the one who determines the existence and quality of my relationships in the first place. What they look like is shaped by what I contribute and what I tolerate or encourage from others. When I’m operating without awareness, my beliefs, fears, and expectations take over and my relationships run a mock. At that point,I often blame others when things go badly. Yet, if I am aware of my dysfunctional beliefs, fears and expectations, it is much easier to recognize unhealthy engagement and either rectify the situation or walk away.
Finally, my childhood beliefs and expectations are deeply etched in my thinking and often surface under pressure. Currently, I strive to consciously make better choices in all aspects of my life, and especially about relationships. Unfortunately, under stress I have a tendency to slip back into old patterns. That’s why I’m hyper vigilant about checking in with myself about whether or not I am interacting with myself and others out of conscious choice or antiquated ideas formed in childhood.
So far I have not remarried, and I’m not looking for an intimate relationship, yet I am keenly aware of the beliefs and expectations that got me into my previous marriage. By knowing that, I am able to consciously make healthier choices about all relationships, not just the intimate ones. When I do not feel in charge of myself or equal to others, I get triggered into old patterns. Therefore, I try to practice constant awareness. As Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.”
Journal Question: What fears, beliefs, and expectations did you form about yourself while growing up? Where did these ideas come from? What is the ongoing impact of your misconceptions? Create a chart with three columns labeled, Notion, Trigger, and Manifestation. Identify a belief that grew out of your childhood and write it in the first column. In the second column, note how and when your idea seems very, very real, which are your triggers. Finally, in the last column explore how your expectations found purchase in your life and played out in your life.
Affirmation: Write a positive sentence to summarize what you learned from today’s writing? Example: I create health relationships with myself and others.
Letter from the divine: Review your journal entry and your affirmation then write a letter from your soul to you reflecting on both. Address the letter with a term of endearment because that is how your soul sees you. Then allow the love your soul has for you to pour out onto the page.
Buen Camino, Pat
You cannot fall in love with your face if you do not take off the mask you’ve painted with society’s expectations. ~Vironika Tugaleva, The Art of Talking to Yourself