I realized something fascinating the other day. I realized that so much of what I learned when I was young, what I was actively taught, was a lie. I don’t think I’ve ever called it out like that before.
When I was told that I was lucky to sacrifice by living without my mother, it was a lie. I wasn’t lucky. It was bad and it was sad. I was unlucky to have that happen to me. When I was told that I was sinful, and less than, and not good enough, it was a lie. We are all enough – every person, every child – and we deserve to be told that. When I was told that the craziness of my father’s life was fine, it was a lie. The truth was it was crazy. So much of it was a lie.
The challenge is that I’ve learned to lie to myself as well. Now that I’m calling out lies, I realize that I’m sometimes the first one to lie to myself. So I’m calling those out as well.
When I tell myself that there’s something wrong with me because I’m going through a difficult time and it feels like it’s getting the better of me, that is a lie. I am doing the best I can to get better. When I tell myself that it’s not okay to need help, that is a lie. It is a strength to turn to others for help and support. When I think that I’m not enough, or that the people who love me won’t love me as much if I don’t do everything right – which I can’t do right now; I suppose one can never can do everything right – those are all lies. I have learned to tell myself lies.
It’s empowering to call this out. To hear the thoughts and say to myself “That is a lie.” I don’t have to believe it; I don’t have to react to it; I don’t have to bow to it. It is a lie. I’m saying that more and more often.
The other day I ran into a friend who is dealing with some tough, tough stuff. She was crying. I don’t think she wanted me to see her cry, but what really struck me is that she apologized for crying. As if there was something wrong with her expressing her sadness. That is such a lie. And yet, I can do the same thing. I ask for help and then apologize for asking. I reach out for support and think I’m being a burden. I apologize when I cry. These are all lies.
We tell ourselves such lies when we hold ourselves to impossible standards, or think there’s a best way to do something. When we criticize ourselves, that is a lie. When we’re harsh to ourselves, that is a lie. The truth is nearly always something gentler, sweeter, kinder, and more loving.
I’m calling out my lies. And trying not to tell them anymore.