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When I was almost three years old, my mother gave me up for adoption.
I don’t remember what my three-year-old self thought of this. I don’t remember it happening. And I don’t remember her from that time.
I do, however, remember my parents. My mom and dad who adopted and raised me.
From the outside looking in, I had a pretty normal childhood with all the hallmarks of adolescence and teenagehood. I was a well-adjusted, happy, popular, perfect child.
The thing is, I wasn’t perfect and my childhood was less than normal. In fact, it was a dysfunctional fairy tale. I just played the part of the perfect daughter pretty well.
My perfection was shrouded in fear.
I didn’t try very hard at things I wasn’t immediately good at because I didn’t want to risk and fail, and therefore not be perfect.
I learned to keep myself safe.
I needed to protect myself from rejection and abandonment and to mitigate against all things that might, that would, that most certainly would (!), that absolutely, definitely, 100% would (!!!) hurt me.
See, I did remember the pain and trauma of abandonment. I just didn’t realize it.
But it knew me. And it was the main driver of my development until I took control of the wheel.
But, I was trapped for years.
Thankfully other circumstances in my life pushed me further and further out of my protective shell.
My parents got divorced. My mom moved away. I had a traumatic brain injury. I started questioning the status quo. I took hallucinogens…and further questioned the status quo.
I moved across the country and read books and listened to interesting talks and music and people.
I expanded my experiences and built new references. I moved to another country to study abroad for a year and really began to unravel the mystery of me.
Through this time and experience, I chipped away at my shell or my wall or peeled back the layers of the onion.
Whatever metaphor you want to use, I got closer and closer to my truth.
I practiced meditation and self-love and anything that helped me heal the psychic wounds of my past.
And what I learned, was that my quest for perfection was a mechanism of survival.
Deep in my psyche, I thought I needed to be perfect or I’d be given away again. That nobody would want me.
The funny thing about hiding behind a wall of perfection or a fortress of anything is you trap your whole self there in the process.
As you protect yourself from danger, hurt, trauma, or pain you shield yourself from the rest of life too.
The stuff that helps you grow. The teachers that help you find yourself. The love and joy you can have. The experiences that challenge you to evolve and be the person you want to be.
What’s your wall made of?
I went from being perfect…that is, feeling like I needed to be perfect… to and through all the sadness, sickness, anger, shame, defensiveness, hate, anxiety, fear, and depression that had welled up inside me.
Landing squarely at the bottom of the proverbial well.
I spoke about the well in my last blog post. About the profound changes that occur when one goes there, recovers the missing pieces of their spirit and soars out into the light above.
But, before recognizing the light and soaring free, you have to face the demons that hold you there.
I realized, in the darkness that consumed me, the demons that held me back and told me I wasn’t good enough, perfect enough, and worthy enough just needed one thing.
But how could I give love to something that hated me? That sabotaged me? That held me back from my greatness?
How could I forgive those negative aspects of myself and the self-destruction they had caused?
It begins and ends with love.
Love is the light of the universe that makes up the magic that is you.
It is joy. Acceptance. Beauty. Awe. Nurturance. It’s the emotional embodiment of possibility, positivity, and purity.
And no one needs to give you permission to have it. No one needs to give it to you.
It’s not something you actually get from anyone or anything else although they may trigger the emotion in you.
You’re worthy of love because you’re here. You’re perfect because you exist. You’re an embodiment of light and energy because you are.
You can accept that it’s sad and awful and unbearable you didn’t receive enough love, nurturance, and understanding as a child.
But, I believe the true test of becoming an adult is the realization you can take care of yourself.
And the most important way to do that is to give yourself the gift of love.
You must become a provider of self-directed, unconditional love. Support yourself by its light.
Once you accept this and practice letting the light in and loving yourself, you will begin to believe it, and the energy around you will shift.
Start telling yourself everyday, you love yourself.
Tell yourself you love yourself. All of you. Especially the sad, imperfect, angry, anxious, shameful, scared parts of you.
All of whatever makes up you. You are enough and you can be loved.
But, it must start with you.
Do you love yourself? What are the ways you express that love for yourself? Drop a comment below!