Imagine for a moment that you are 4 years old. Your mommy and daddy are taking you to the hospital to get your tonsils out. The nurses tell you that you will be asleep the whole time, and they will be with you. Your parents promise that when you wake up in your own room safe and secure, they will be there with a cute, giant teddy bear watching over you.
A very warm and loving picture; a picture even as an adult you would crave coming out of surgery, right?
Now imagine this: You come out of the ether. You look around groggily for those loving people you expected to be around you. What do you see instead? Surrounding you are row upon row of scary-looking, wizened little people. Low moans of pain fill your ears. you see that they are burned all over and bandaged and crying – it’s horrible!
Where are your parents? Where is your teddy bear? None of those people you trusted are anywhere in the room. You are alone in this horrifying place.
You scream! And then become deathly silent as the reality sets in. You pull back into yourself as the abandonment and isolation begin to take hold of you. You are very scared, as only a 4 year old can be.
This is my story.
By the time my parents and medical staff found me, I could not speak a word. I had retreated deeply into myself, no longer connecting with the world around me. I remained in this state for almost a full year. I did not speak nor interact with anyone. I regressed to needing more care from my parents and grandmother (who lived with us). Rather than becoming more independent as the year went on, I was a burden every day. I was difficult to handle, resisting getting dressed, eating lunch, going down for a nap, and a myriad of other activities that a growing 4 year old should have been doing easily.
I was difficult, a burden to my family – and broken. In many respects I felt like I was a broken porcelain doll. My beauty and perfection marred by these cracks in my being. Broken, difficult, a burden – and I got this message in obvious as well as subtle ways, and this belief settled into my bones.
Did you ever feel this way? Do you have your own story about something that happened in childhood that literally changed your world in a moment? Or your story may be more of an ongoing situation that had a deep effect on you over time, rather than a single seminal event.
Growing up, I just wanted to be like everyone else. The children in my neighborhood all had siblings who, together, socialized into the world of the block and our school. I did not – I had older parents and my grandmother, who continued to treat me as though I were difficult, broken, and a burden. Criticism and judgment seemed to follow everything I did.
I had learned that chaos was not safe for me or my dolls, so my bedroom was kept immaculate and organized. I had to be the best student in the class so I wouldn’t be a burden on others. I was always polite and obedient so my brokenness wouldn’t be noticed. Creativity that was not engineered perfectly was not acceptable to me.
As I’ve done the work to heal the wounds of these old stories and their messages, I see how these beliefs have informed my life today.
How about you? Perhaps you recognize similar wounds in yourself.
Did you strive to be perfect so no one would criticize you?
If so, I understand . I work with women who feel held back in achieving their dreams because of long-standing – and untrue – beliefs about themselves. Who are functioning under a bravado of courage when, in fact, they are feeling like a scared child out of control of their world.
I also know there is a solution for you. This can be healed.
People like us step into and lead movements because we need to heal the broken within us as we heal the broken in the world. We lead movements. Often, we are the most qualified to speak on behalf of those who are broken, difficult, a burden – because we have been there ourselves.
Look at Ashley Judd who spoke out about her acting career. She was given the reputation of being difficult and broken simply because she would not sleep with producers to get acting roles. Today she is healing this by speaking out, and encouraging others to do the same.
Do you have a movement that will heal your burden?
I invite you to consider taking the first step of this healing journey by connecting with me. I have opened 5 slots in my calendar for a complimentary 30- minute “Discover Your Mission” session. We will explore what is “broken” in you and what movement this has prepared you to lead.
I always say: “behind every movement is the seed of a great idea.” Let’s plant that seed, nourish it as it grows, and harvest the riches of world change.