“Forgiveness means letting go of the past.” ~ Gerald Jampolsky
No matter how much I learn to let go of the past, there are some days when I feel like a broken little boy all over again.
Feelings of unworthiness, betrayal and fear can still surprise me. These feeling come like a thief – robbing me of my self-confidence; stealing my happiness. When the the robbery is over, I’m left to pick up the broken pieces and start over again.
As a 51-year-old man, I’m still healing from being a child of an alcoholic parent. I don’t use my personal narrative as an excuse, but the shadows of my past can still affect the way I see my present. After releasing my book last week, it didn’t take long for doubt and fear to replace my excitement:
What if the book is a bust?
What if nobody likes it?
These questions were simmering inside of me until they reached a boiling point. I woke up on Saturday morning feeling anxious and afraid.
Even though my book is off to a great start, the perfectionist in me is expecting more.
If I just tried a little harder, I thought, the book’s success would be better.
This thought was a reaction to when my mother would choose the bottle over me:
If I just tried a little harder, I thought as a boy, my mother would choose me.
Last Saturday was not a good day. I felt scared. I felt alone. I felt broken all over again.
But with the awareness that age and healing can bring, I was able to recover, find my footing and salvage the last part of the day. I was able to remember that my past doesn’t have to define my present. I was able to surrender my fear one more time.
Most important, I was able to lift up the broken pieces by:
- Remembering that I don’t have to perfect
- Believing that I’m living my purpose
- Finding value in what I say about me – not in what I think others say about me
- Knowing that I’m enough just the way I am
- Asking for help and then feeling worthy to receive it
Sometimes the simple path to lifting up the broken pieces begins by acknowledging what still needs to healed.
Last Saturday was a good reminder that I don’t have to walk alone.
Peace is just one turn away when I make the choice to lift up what’s keeping me stuck so I can tell the scared little boy that he is loved.
And that everything is going to be okay.
What is A Simple Path?
This post is in A Simple Path, a series of short pieces inspired by my own life experiences. Each post is a simple path to experiencing something wonderful: maybe seeing life from a different perspective, or celebrating its beauty. Please be sure to check out my book on Amazon: 20 Simple Paths to an Amazing Life.