Let’s just start with one of my oldest narratives that can continually play on repeat in the back of my head: “I’ll never be good enough.”
I have others, too. Like, “Good things won’t happen to me.” Or, “This won’t work for me.”
Now, I’ve been around long enough and in the rooms long enough to know that none of these scripts are original. A good chunk of the human race is running around with these tapes running in their head all the time.
With so many people struggling with these debilitating messages you’d think we’d have universally figured out how to shut them down.
So why haven’t we?
Well, I’m not a guru, but I think one reason is, despite the fact that the messages and the feelings are quite similar, the conditions that created them for each one of us are different.
Or, at least, they FEEL different.
And that’s why I believe it can be helpful to go to the source. And I mean the source on two different levels, the source and the Source.
The first source is the experiences, and especially the people, who played a role in establishing these old narratives to begin with.
It’s important to get as clear as possible on these things.
Complete clarity, however, is usually not possible unless we take this information to the Source. The Source of healing and recovery: our Higher Power.
And I don’t mean just to pray about these things, although that can be helpful. In fact, if the source specifically involves people who have violated us, praying for them can be very helpful. I highly recommend the chapter “Freedom from Bondage” in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous for suggestions on how to pray for them.
But when I suggest we take the information we have about the source of our old narratives to the Source, I am suggesting that we also pray for ourselves.
Specifically, I suggest we ask our Higher Power to help us see these situations and these people as our Higher Power sees them.
One of the most significant sources of my old narratives was my mother.
My mother was incredibly cunning in her emotional abuse. Consequently, she was holding a lot of power over me and renting a lot of emotional space in my head.
And I felt like my mother had the most intimidating presence. She was tall, she dressed extravagantly, and when she walked into a room, she took complete command of it.
It was an Al-Anon speaker who taught me to ask my Higher Power to help me see my mother the way my Higher Power saw her.
However, I had to pray for this awareness for two years before it finally came to me. But when it did, it was nothing I could have ever imagined.
My mother had just had major surgery and was having life-threatening complications as a result of it. I had driven all night to go back home so I could be there.
When I got there, she was in bad shape. They had to keep her sedated and restrained to keep her from pulling all the tubes out that were keeping her alive so she could hopefully recover.
During this time, we discovered new crises my mother had created with her disease, and many family members, myself included, were rushing around trying to contain the damage.
After a long day of this, I was exhausted.
I hadn’t been to the hospital at all that day and I was so fed up with all her crap that I had no desire whatsoever to go visit.
But this little voice in my head, which clearly wasn’t mine, reminded me that I had gone back home to be with my mother.
So I went back to the hospital, and as I was walking through the halls back to the ICU, I just kept praying and asking my Higher Power to allow me to have compassion because I was. Sick. Of. This. Shit.
When I walked back into her hospital room, everything was exactly the same as when I had last been there.
She was tied to the bed and sprawled in a restless position. Machines were breathing for her and feeding her. Her sheets, her hair, and her hospital gown were all sweaty and disordered. Struggling, powerless, unconscious.
But in my frustration and my prayers for compassion, it finally hit me: this was how God saw her.
Nothing could have been further from the bugaboo she had always been in my head. I sobbed.
In that moment, I was granted humility, compassion, and most importantly, freedom.
I have prayed what I call the resentment prayer that I learned from reading the chapter “Freedom from Bondage” in the Big Book. And that has always lessened my resentments.
But when I asked my Higher Power to help me see my mother the way my Higher Power saw her, and when that request was finally answered, it was almost as if there was nothing to forgive.
Not that her violations hadn’t been real, but it obvious to the core of my bones that there was no other way she could have behaved. Which meant that none of the abuse was about me.
Which meant that I wasn’t stuck in shame.
I’ve still had to grieve that my mother wasn’t the mother I needed her to be. But that’s a very different thing than feeling like I wasn’t good enough to be loved.
If you read my post on legitimate anger, this is one way of getting out of those old narratives so we don’t keep interpreting things that hurt or anger us in ways that keep us stuck.
So, now I’d like to hear from you. Do you have experiences with people or situations that your Higher Power has helped you see in a different light? Or is there a situation or a person that you need help seeing the way your Higher Power sees it?
Share your experience, strength, and hope in the comments. I read every one.