Sunday, October 04, 2009


I think wanting—letting ourselves want—is very difficult if we were abused as children. We learned not to ask for things, not to let anyone know what we wanted or cared about so it couldn't be used against us and maybe even learned not to care at all so it wouldn't hurt so much when it was taken away from us and given to someone else.

For years, it was impossible for me to do the exercise where you write down your ideal life—what it would look like. I couldn't do it. I'd fall asleep or get distracted or I'd get pounding headaches and have to stop or I'd just stare at the blank page literally unable to do it. Then I got to the point where I could imagine little bits and pieces of things that I thought might make me happy—hastily followed by reassurances to myself that I didn't actually need those things!

Even now, I catch myself thinking in terms of: What's the least I can settle for? It's as if I'm afraid that if I let myself think about what I'd like, it would hurt too much because there's a part of me that still believes I can never have it.

So...a couple of weeks ago I deliberately decided I was going to think in terms of what I really want and use it as motivation to find a way to get them. As usual, this has meant emotions bouncing all over the place, more headaches than I've had in the past 2 years all put together and bouts of insomnia and/or disturbingly vivid dreams.

I took steps to prove to myself that NOW I could—and do!--have lots of the things that make me happy. Now I can have a freezer/refrigerator full of food—I don't have to go hungry as I did as a child. Now I can wear clothes that make me smile—instead of someone else's hand me downs or what someone else thinks I should wear. Now I can watch movies or shows I like—and not care what anyone else thinks of them. Now I can notice when men pay me compliments—without having to be afraid of what it means.

And I noticed the patterns that still remain. I found myself thinking of some things that would make me happy and saying I can't afford them. I found myself realizing that I could—if I chose and if I let go of the old beliefs of what I do or don't deserve. I noticed the old voices whispering it was wrong to want this or spend money on that. I thought about how different I would feel if I talked to myself in terms of: This would make me happy and that wouldn't.

There's no danger, you see, that I won't manage financially. I know how to do it too well. But there's a danger of settling instead of thriving. There's a danger of believing I never can have _________ instead of realizing I could if I just ______ and _______ and _______.

I hadn't known I still had so many of the old ideas still in my head. I hadn't realized I was still limiting myself in ways I could have abandoned long ago. It is—as always—the beliefs we don't know we have or think to question that trip us up the most. about you? Are you able to think about what you want? Are you able to let yourself have the things you can afford that would make you smile? I hope so.

Sending blessings and safe and gentle ((((((hugs)))))),


VICKI IN AZ said...

I am so glad that you talked about this. I find it amazing how this can trigger all of those emotions and physically painful reactions. But... I know it can because now that I see it here I realize that happens to me, I get those reactions too. The old rules and traditions are so deep inside our core and we have to keep facing them and looking at them and CHALLENGING them. Thank you for this reminder.

I love that you are recognizing how capable you are of filling your needs. You are such a strong example. I see it all the time I have to quit telling myself I can't or shouldn't or I'll never!!
I have to find out how to make it happen.

It means the world to me that you commented and are proud of me for taking care of my needs. I can't tell you how good it feels but I am sure that you know from experience that it does. I am feeling stronger and I know from past experience and from my gut that I had to set that boundary with my mom to be safe enough to say the truth out loud and then do the work it will take for healing.

I hope the changes you have been making in your life and all of your new endeavors are challenging you and blessing you. You deserve all of the good gifts of life April. Thank you for being such a rock.


Marj aka Thriver said...

Yay! You did post again, April. And what a wonderful, thought-provoking post it is. Thanks for sharing with us in this way.

For me, I wasn't allowed comfort as a child. Just this morning I was reminded of how I would get a tissue and wad it up in my hand. This would be my comfort. Nobody could see it and take it away. I still do this with the tissue.

But, I've started new habits as well. I practice self-care on a pretty regular basis. I ask more, now, for what I want and need. And when I endulge in something that I think is rather a splurge, I look myself(ves) in the mirror and I proudly say, "We're worth it and we deserve it!" This has been very liberating and healing for me and my dissociated parts.

Marj aka Thriver said...

Oh, and I also wanted to say: I love this quote, "It is—as always—the beliefs we don't know we have or think to question that trip us up the most." Very wise!

gypsy-heart said...

I'm so glad I came by tonight..I love where you are now and where you are going!!!

Sage words for all of is easy to slip back into our old thought patterns. I find myself to doing so from time to time.

Thank you for the excellent reminders!

Good and peace of heart to you,


Anonymous said...

Hi, April -

Ya' know, I had a similar moment lately . . . I realized that I haven't been allowing myself to do anything fun until I have every single one of my "ducks" in a row.

I have to have enough money saved up for a rainy day first.

I have to have every piece of paper filed first.

I have to have made recent contact with every single family member and friend first.

I have to get enough sleep first.

I have to make sure my living area is clean enough first.

I have to make sure I know what I'll do in case of an emergency first.

Then, it finally dawned on me that I will never get all my ducks in a row. So, I'll have to trust that I'll be okay -- and that I am not irresponsible -- if I take some time for fun and pleasure first.

Great post!

- Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)

Kahless said...

I so struggle to know what I want.
I know what I dont want, like my job. But I dont know what else? I dont know what would give me joy.

Great post, as always.

April_optimist said...

Thank you everyone. May we all discover what brings us joy and know that we deserve to be happy.