HEALING OUR WOUNDED SELF-IMAGE
In my last few blog postings I’ve been exploring the painful effects of our embedded false self-images, commonly resulting from our parents’ misperceptions of us during our formative years
In my yet-to-be-completed, unedited, semi-autobiographical book – ‘The Wise Old Man & the Kid – A Guide to Living a Positive Life’, which is designed to assist young adults traverse the minefields of life - this is one of many topics discussed by 75 year-old Davey with 12 year-old, Noah (an old soul, even though he doesn’t know it).
Here is another extract from the book, where Davey tells Noah the alternative prescriptions for healing the damage wrought by our formative experiences.
I’ve followed the historical tradition of referring to God as ‘Father’ or as ‘He’, because, in my view, gender differential is totally irrelevant when talking about the Creator of everything that is real.
“Generally, we don’t see how rocky the pedestal is we’ve put our parents on, at least until we get into our teens,” said Davey. “It can be shock to realize they are more human than God-like. That they do have weaknesses; they aren’t infallible; they make mistakes; they can be mean and nasty, unfair and uncaring and so on. Also, I suggest most parents have got so much going on in their own lives, many neither have the time, inclination or capability of wisely mentoring their children through life’s challenges. This can also lead to them misjudging their kids, or judging them harshly and throw-away lines like: “You’re stupid”, or “good-for nothing” can stick, giving kids a false and negative image of themselves.
“So, where does that leave us kids, here and now?”
“For many, I regret to say, they will have to follow the path of the knotted silk cord. In other words, they will inevitably inherit wrong-minded attitudes; make mistakes, wrong choices and decisions and suffer painful consequences. However, remember, from break-down comes break-through and when their tolerance for self-afflicted pain becomes too much, opportunities will be presented to them in the form of wake-up calls to change their attitudes and see themselves differently. Then they’ll have the opportunity to turn their lives around and untie those knots in the silk cord, if they so choose.”
“The other day you said something about maturing and, er, emotional intelligence, whatever that is, and suggested there was another way of ridding ourselves of the bad attitudes resulting from our childhood experiences.”
“You’re as sharp as a tack, kid. Well done.” replied Davey, smiling broadly. “Emotional intelligence is our ability to perceive emotions in ourselves and in others; to reason using emotions; to understand our and others’ emotions; and to manage our emotions and positively influence those of others. Yes, there is another way of overcoming these negative attitudinal legacies.
“When people reach an appropriate level of emotional intelligence and they’re mature and aware enough to choose to change their minds and discard their misguided beliefs about themselves - that will mitigate the need for the Universe to step in with wake-up calls to achieve the same result.”
“How does that work.”
“In my case it didn’t work at all,” said Davey, with a wry smile. “It took me most of my life to reach emotional intelligence maturity. That’s why a wake-up call or two were prescribed for me by the Universe. For others who matured emotionally much earlier in their life than me, they have the opportunity to recognize that other people’s image of them, especially their parents’, and their resultant distorted self-image was wrong. So, rather than hanging onto the self-defeating attitude of being victims, they had the choice to adopt a new, positive attitude.”
“So, all of these emotionally intelligent mature people avoided wake-up calls and turning points by making the decision on their own not to accept their parents’ unworthy view of them?”
“Only if they chose to do so. I suspect many of them preferred to hold onto their victimhood and entrenched attitude about themselves. The ego resists change, especially in our attitudes, because it senses its power over us diminishing. So, if they can’t resist the overtures of the ego, that’s when the Universe steps in and confronts them with wake-up calls.”
“So, to untie the knots in the silk cord, you either have to mature emotionally and change your attitude about who you think you are, or the Universe will arrange wake-up calls to bring you to your senses?” asked Noah.
“Give the kid a cigar! You’ve got it!” said Davey, giving him a high five. “However, there is also a third way of ridding ourselves of our false image of ourselves. And this one is the ‘biggie’”.
“I like to call this, the attainment of spiritual intelligence. It has some relationship to emotional intelligence and comes from the same source as wake-up calls, namely from the Universe, or God. It represents the most effective way of undoing the false beliefs about ourselves. However, it requires a quantum leap of faith in order to unleash its power.”
“Oh, oh. Sounds like we’re heading into the realm of spiritual metaphysics again? You’re going to talk more about all of us being God’s children asleep in some heavenly state, dreaming we’re human beings living on Planet Earth? Right”
“Good intuition, kid,” said Davey, smiling. “Once again, I don’t expect you to believe what I say. Nor am I trying to thrust my beliefs upon you. All I’m suggesting is that you listen to what I say with an open mind.”
“I’ll give it a try.”
“Fair enough. The third way of letting go our false images of ourselves resulting from our formative years, or from anywhere else for that matter, is to realize that our resultant feelings of self-doubt, inferiority and lack of self-worth have no substance. How can any of us be unworthy when, in truth, we’re all God’s children? It follows that we must be like our Father, who is pure love, holy and benign, without any human imperfections. Yes, we are collectively dreaming that we’re all flawed human beings. However, dreams are not reality. In truth, we’re as benign and perfect as God Himself. Once we believe this, it releases us from the self-defeating misperceptions of ourselves – our false images and legacies of our formative experiences and other influences.”
“As if! How can we do this if we’re living in a dream. Wouldn’t we need, somehow, to wake up first?” said Noah, skeptically.
“Great question. In fact changing our thinking and attitude through recognizing who we truly are and letting go of other people’s misperceptions of us, especially our parents, is a positive step to awakening from our dream, or more correctly, from our nightmare.”
“I’m not with you.”
“Through changing our minds about who we truly are – God’s children – not some crazy false image, we are forgiving others for their seeming misperceptions of us, as well as forgiving our own. Practicing true forgiveness is the way to awaken from our dream and find lasting happiness.”
“Duh! I’m lost. I think you’ve tied me up in metaphysical knots, not silk cord ones.”
“Yes, there’s a lot to take in. Let’s give it a rest for now. More about true forgiveness some other time,” said Davey, reeling in his line.
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