When we truly and fully belong, it is natural to believe and to become. The tragedy of our time is that so very many do not belong—people who have no parents, no family, no community, no tradition. It’s no wonder that survival has taken the place of becoming. One true love is all that is necessary. It tells us we do belong, we are connected, and we are at home. Richard Rohr Quest for the Grail
Love was never the problem; the lack of love was. This thought came to my mind this morning after spending some time journaling about my thoughts. I don’t know about you, but I use up a tremendous amount of energy every day being hypervigilent. Most of the time I am not even aware of it, but sometimes when the voices get so loud inside my own head and I write down what I am thinking, I become self-aware. My daughter said recently about her own overwhelming thoughts that sometimes her consciousness feels to big for her brain. I relate so well to her statement.
Sometimes the voices in my head get too heavy to carry. I can feel their weight on top of my eyes. Maybe it is because the prefrontal cortex, the thinking part of my brain, is actually weighing down on my eyes. This morning I took a few minutes to write down what I was thinking. It was actually part of an exercise from the Noom diet app that is a psychological approach to weight loss. It was an exercise that was supposed to only take me a few minutes, but once I started writing I knew I didn’t need to stop.
I realized that my thoughts were a lot like a helicopter parent in my mind. They are hovering over everything that I do, looking out for anything that might go wrong. As a parent, I have done my share of hovering, I still do even though my kids are all adults. I catch myself doing it sometimes and tell myself it’s time to land the bird. They are adults. They can decide for themselves. Where does my need to be a helicopter parent come from? A desire to protect my children from experiencing pain. I think if I point out everything that could go wrong I can keep them from making the same mistakes I did. While there is nothing wrong with sharing wisdom, hovering over every decision they make will cause them to be miserable. Which is exactly what my thoughts do to me when I am in a hypervigilent state. This morning as I wrote my thoughts down, I realized the helicopter mom inside my brain was just afraid of me getting hurt. In order to bring her relief, I thanked her for her concern. We have suffered much in our lifetime, and there is a legitimate reason for this part of my brain working so hard to protect me. But I also reminded her that just like my kids I am no longer a child. I can do this on my own. This answer wasn’t good enough for her. She reminded me that as an adult I haven’t made the best decisions. My own efforts to bring relief had failed miserably. Of course she is reminding me of my attempt to get help from the wrong person; the pastor who I believed would lead me to the promised land of deliverance, but instead led me back to Egypt. I don’t think this part of my brain will ever let me forget.
The hypervigilent part of my brain indeed has every right to be concerned. My own disillusionment over being led back into Egypt resulted in almost a decade of being abused again. The things I did to survive while I was enslaved still bring so much shame.
I realized that the helicopter mom inside my brain is hovering closely because of this shame. She reminds me every time that I overeat, overspend, or am not productive enough with my time that I am slipping. That if I let my guard down that I might just be deceived again. Of course these thoughts are not rational, but they come from a real place of pain. The pain that tells me that there is something wrong with me. That I am unlovable. If I let my guard down others will see me for who I really am.
This is what happens when our lives as children begin in survival mode. I realize as I write this that I am scared to death that if I let my guard down that I will be deceived again by myself. I think if I allow myself to receive love that I will become self-destructive again. Thankfully, as I processed these thoughts and honored the pain that is there, the light finally came through. I reminded myself that love was never the problem. The lack of love always was. And this had nothing to do with me. This had everything to do with the people who abused me.
Then I remembered the people who really loved me. The people who didn’t have an agenda. The people who just wanted to spend time with me. The people who made it a point to let me know that I belonged.
One true love is all that is necessary. It tells us we do belong, we are connected, and we are at home.
If you are a survivor of childhood trauma or religious trauma/abuse or both like I was, I hope you remember reading this that love was never the problem. The lack of love always was. We deserved so much better. But it’s not too late to receive the love that we deserved. It’s OK to open our hearts to receive it. ❤️
Noom is a great resource if you want to practice healthier eating habits. I am amazed how even our food choices can have deep roots into our desire to experience relief from our inner pain. Another good resource is Nate Postlethwait inner child work course. Here is a link to his website. I completed his course a few months back, and the inner child work I did in this course helped me to connect with myself with more self-love and compassion. Other resources are listed on my resource page. If you have resources to share, please leave them in the comments section. We heal better together. 💛