For some people reading this, the response to my headline is, “Duh!” For others, I am sure my title engenders big feelings and an immediate disconnect, “Yes they are!” And for still others, despite all the years of therapy, self care, hard work on your issues, there is still this persistent idea that someone is going to come and save you from all of life’s perils.
And all those persons feel the way they do because their childhood needs went unmet or were unforgivingly neglected or abused.
I believe we all have shit to deal with in our lives. And for most of us, it all goes back to childhood. A time in our lives when we were our most vulnerable, unable to care for ourselves or keep ourselves safe. And for a great many of us, those people charged with our care, failed us. Some intentionally, some more likely not. Some people were just not paying close enough attention to threats that didn’t appear to be threats at all. Whatever the results, the cause, more often than not is due, was due, to their own inability to protect themselves in childhood and the adults in their lives failing them too.
This piece isn’t about blaming your parents or caregivers. They did the best they could, even if it was horrible. It was likely their best considering the demons that haunted them. And the level of healing they worked for or didn’t.
What I am getting at here is to really look at this pervasive idea we all (most of us) have that someone outside us is going to save us. And it doesn’t even have to be a someone…it could be a job, career, money, status, things. Most people I know or work with have this idea that healing, growing and changing is under the control of something other than them.
It is the old knight in shining armor idea except it isn’t just women who have this issue. It is most everyone I know on some level: believes, hopes, dreams, needs, some other person to witness their pain, their damage, their trauma and do something to stop it.
I myself waited years, decades even, thinking that if I just found the right guy, everything would be different. Well despite a great deal of commitment to the cause, no man ever rescued me. Because rescue is an inside job, always. Unless you are in a car wreck or in a fast moving stream, or a burning building, rescue is going to be something you are going to have to do for yourself.
Now, all that need and want relating to being rescued was not in vain. I did receive a great deal of healing in my attempts to make some man responsible for me. I also did a lot more damage, to all of us. It was a hard road but not unproductive…
I have given this a great deal of thought, over my lifetime and more acutely lately, that is the purpose of the life we are given, to select ourselves, to heal ourselves, to be our own best friend, to love the tangled, jangled, traumatized us, no matter what.
And so far, it has taken my entire life. It was wrecked in an instant. The self worth and feeling of being safe destroyed one night many years ago. And then my inability and then my refusal to deal with that caused me to suffer under the delusion that because one person took it all away, that I could find someone to give it all back. And I was right and wrong. I was wrong about the person. I was right that there was one person out there that could heal me…me.
I spent the whole of my life searching for things outside me to make me feel better. All the things: first boys, booze, cigarettes and a wild ride. Then men, booze, cigarettes, education and more debauchery. Then men, no booze or cigarettes, outdoorsy stuff, shopping and busyness. And embarrassingly enough, I have been doing that last refrain forever.
The good news is that is wasn’t for naught. No, I have learned a great deal on my path. I see the stuff that didn’t work, or worked really well for a minute. And I see all the stuff that only caused me more damage overall.
Mostly what I see now is that whatever happened eons ago that left me with this seemingly unhealable scar, was made worse by my believing that I had a solution. My first sponsor said to me a million years ago when I got done with my inventory and shared it with her. I saved that one horrific thing until the very end because I really could not find my part in it. She looked at me with such kindness and love and said the words that set me free, “you had no part in that, but look what you have done to yourself because of that ever since…”
Look what we have all done to ourselves ever since…
The deal, as I see it now, is that we have to become the parent we didn’t have, the friend we always we wished for, the partner we desire, the love we can’t live without and the champion of us we all need. We have to become all of that for ourselves.
No one is coming to save us…because all we really need is to find a way to own our shit, all the stuff that happened to us, and find one tiny, sparkling belief that we are worth saving and then set about doing the work to save ourselves. It isn’t easy or a great deal of fun. But it is the best use of a life I have ever known. To own all that has happened, to see our part, to forgive others and ourselves and to take the action needed to move us forward to bigger and better things. Learning as we go to love ourselves more deeply, to develop a self dialogue that is gentle and kind. To forgive ourselves and eventually others so that the mental space we live in daily changes from a war zone to a place of peace, tranquility and love.
Loving ourselves shouldn’t be as hard as it is. But the effort we put forth to love us in spite of all the beliefs and shit we have been handed over the years, is life changing.
No one is coming to save us, because the person for whom that job exists, is already here. It is you. You can change your life. Ask for help from those who know. Be fearless and take on the arduous task of loving yourself, and then this whole folly of needing to be saved will pass away and all you will be left with is an amazing life that is full of love. First for yourself, and then for others because once you love you, it is contagious and you attract other like minded people to you. And then you all work, together, separately, saving yourselves. And it is amazing.