One of my favorite authors as a child was Shel Silverstein.
And one of his famous quotes that provided a light for me was this:
There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I know that this is right for me, I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you, just listen to, the voice that speaks inside.
As a child, I was born into a cycle. We all were.
I had no idea, of course, of the chaos I was to endure—the chaos that was laid long before I arrived, the imprint I was to follow. I had no understanding of the job I was being given. I came into this world, as we all do, innocent—a clean slate, a sponge.
We are all the recipients of either a positive familial cycle or a negative one. This forms who we are, who we will become. It’s luck really, or predestined depending on your beliefs, as we don’t get to choose who will guide the first twenty something years of our lives. We just go along for the ride.
We are in for a childhood of respect, guidance, love and honor or we are in for disrespect, little guidance, resentment, anger and the imprints of a cycle that started long before us.
For most of us, our childhoods are a mixture of all of these things. The difference lies in how much of each quality or behavior was in our particular family recipe. Our unique recipe, creates who we will become. If we have children, our recipe becomes their recipe.
As a psychotherapist, I lend compassion. I lend belief in more. I lend hope. I lend my voice, for when you have trouble hearing your own. My goal is always to help your inner voice become louder. As it is in that voice, that we find our true selves and are able to change cycles.
My inner voice is what helped me endure my childhood. In my darkest hours, my voice saved me.
“You are going to be somebody.
You are somebody already.
It’s not all your fault.
You don’t deserve this.
They are troubled, you are not.
You will get through this.
You will parent differently.
You are not responsible for their anger and resentments.
And I am, and it wasn’t, I didn’t, I did, and I do.”
My inner voice knew something that my childish conscience did not. She knew that we are who we say we are, not what others label us. She knew there was love—it was just cloaked in anger. She knew I had someone great inside of me and she helped to nurture me, there in that dark room as I cried from pain.
Pain from the blows, pain from the words and pain from the cycle.
She knew I deserved the best, not the scraps.
She knew I was born to help others, so she helped me.
She knew that the cycle I was in was to polish me, so that I could see others with loving eyes.
She knew that everything I needed was inside of me at that very moment. It just needed nurturing—slowly, carefully, non-judgmentally.
She stood in as my loving parent when my own parent’s troubles got so big that they spilled onto me.
She was there in my darkest hours and my most brightly lit moments.
She was there and she is there now, still.
She guides us you see. If you’re having trouble hearing her, then:
Sit in silence. She is there.
Get into nature. She is there.
Notice your thoughts. She is there.
Breathe deeply. She is there.
Look at your children. She is there.
Write in your journal. She is there.
Give away compassion and kindness. She is there.
We must find her, you see? She loves us, she guides us, she sees us. She is us!
At some point in our lives, if we come from dysfunction, we must become our own loving parent. We must stand in for ourselves. We must stand up for ourselves.
Our inner voice is our guide. Without hearing her, how can we know which way to go? How can we know how our lives will unfold? How can we hold onto hope that things will get better?
I remember distinctly, at 17 years of age, with tears streaming down my face, writing a letter saying goodbye to those I loved. I wrote in detail why I couldn’t go on anymore. I apologized that I wasn’t strong enough to endure what I had been handed.
Then she spoke to me. And I listened.
She said, “Oh no you will not.”
She said, “You are needed.”
She said, “It gets better, I promise!”
She said, “This is not how it ends.”
And I listened.
I listened to the voice that lies within. And I am thankful for her every single day of this beautiful life I have created, through belief in the voice that lies within.
Author: Kerry Foreman
Assistant Editor: Hilda Carroll/Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Christopher Campbell/Unsplash, Author’s Own