March 3, 2016

How I Healed My Soul Wound by Embracing My Inner Child.

self-love, body image, heart

There was a time, just four short years ago, that I felt completely hopeless about my life.

I had accepted that happiness was not meant for me.

Other people seemed to find love, and success, and fulfilment. But, I never believed that those things were attainable for me. I held a deep belief that I was not worthy of such things.

I truly believed that I was inherently flawed and damaged beyond any hope of repair.

This negative perception of myself was woven so deeply into the fabric of who I was, I didn’t even notice it.

I was as much a part of me as my ribs, or my hair, or my voice. Perhaps it was all of those things. It was more than a stray fiber that made its way into my tapestry. It became my tapestry.

My negative self-beliefs were not born into me. They were taught to me very early in my childhood through sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. I learned through those painful experiences that I was worthless.

If the people who had given me life couldn’t love me—if they could hurt and betray me, and leave me broken and abandoned—how could anyone ever love me? How could I ever love myself?

Going through life believing that I was damaged made it impossible for me to know my own strength. It made it impossible for me to require that people treat me with kindness and respect. It made it impossible for me to believe that I could ever be more than my brokenness.

I thought that I had forgiven everyone who had harmed me.

I wasn’t angry anymore, but I was still holding onto the pain. I still felt like the dented can someone stashed at the back of the bottom shelf. Peeling back the layers in the here and now helped. But to really heal my soul where the wound began, I had to go back to my early childhood and look at things differently.

The way I was neglecting my wellbeing in present time was not unlike the neglect I found in my childhood.

My morbidly obese body, my inability to stand up for myself, always settling, and accepting less than I deserved, bending to addiction after addiction, were all indicative of the scared little girl who never knew what it was to be loved.

I had to go find that little girl if I was ever going to be whole again.

And so, I began a journey to go and find her. She was buried under one hundred pounds of protective weight.  Behind all the excuses I had made to live my life as a passenger, never realizing that I was capable of taking the wheel. Underneath years of self-loathing and anger.

I remembered that little girl, the one who went into the garden to find her mother one afternoon and tell her that the man inside the house had touched her inappropriately. That was the beginning—the first cut in my soul wound.

It seemed that the years of abuse that followed that original wound just compounded it. It grew deep and wide, bleeding and throbbing inside my chest. That woundedness became my normal.

I expected to be treated poorly by others, I expected to not get what I really wanted, I expected to be unhappy. I truly didn’t realize there was another choice available to me. Whenever more pain came my way, I thought that I was getting what I deserved.

To change this way of thinking, I had to go find that little girl, scoop her up in my arms, and tell her:

“Somebody should have loved you. Somebody should have protected you. You didn’t deserve the things that happened to you- it was never your fault. We can’t go back and change the past, but I can love you now. Right now, today—I choose to love you.”

What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. I began to let go of everything that didn’t serve me.  Relationships, possessions, habits, beliefs, patterns… It was painful at first. But, once I became aware of the things that were not loving to me, and saw the discomfort they were causing for me, it got easier.

I realized that I didn’t have to keep repeating my self-destructive behaviors.

I could undo the conditioning that led me to them, just by changing my thoughts. That loop of garbage that used to play in my head could be silenced, and I could be free. There was no need for me to keep punishing myself— I never deserved to be punished in the first place.

Once I had found the origin of my soul wound, I started searching my memory for other pieces of me.

Who was I when I was younger? Before I lost my way? Before the wound took over my life and kept me from expressing the fullness of my potential? I liked the headstrong, outspoken, creative, happy girl I remembered.

I decided it was time to find my way back to her.

I’ve learned that when people abuse us as children, they completely change who we are, who we will become. They fill us with anger, shame, guilt, and worst of all—this belief that we were somehow deserving of the terrible things that happened to us.

Sometimes we carry that burden with us for a lifetime. But, it is possible to mend our wounds. It is possible to forgive those who harmed us. It is possible to love ourselves again- even if no one ever has.

Our darkest memories hold the answers we need.  We just have to find a way to face them.


Author: Renee Dubeau

Editor: Sara Kärpänen

Photo: Charlotte Astrid / Flickr 

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