There’s a line I use when I describe a particularly scarring moment in my adolescence – “The Messiah said I was bad.” In many ways this accurately captures what happened. A dear friend of mine was caught in a desperate situation, and in order to protect herself – to get attention off of her and what was going on in her life – she started rumors about me. She spread lies, suggesting that I had crushes on a few older Church members and was therefore sinful. (This was huge in the puritanical constraints of the Unification Church.)

The lies reached Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who was, at that point, my Messiah. He heard, and believed, what people were saying about me and therefore decreed that I could no longer play with his daughters. (Well, technically he decreed that only children who were born to Church members whom he had Blessed in marriage could play with his children, but that was only to keep me away.) In other words, my Messiah said I was bad.

It took me years – and years of therapy – to realize fully that, at least in my non-adult mind at that time, this is what happened. I was punished for something I didn’t do. The man whom I thought was closest to God banished me. No wonder it scarred me.

Therefore, in order to help people understand the effect this had on me, I began to exclaim, “The Messiah said I was bad.” I hoped this might convey the weightiness, how traumatic it must have been for me.

Until very recently, when someone who is very dear to me heard me say that (again), paused, and quietly offered, “I think you should stop calling him the Messiah.” Damn was she right.

Each time I called Rev. Moon the Messiah, I was unwittingly reinforcing that old belief in my brain. As an Executive Coach I have told my clients that they need to stop saying specific things if they want to release themselves from the patterns those specific things reinforce. My client who called all the younger workers in his office kids? I told him to stop, or he would never see them differently. My clients who tell me how they “can’t” do something? I tell them to stop, or they’ll be right and they won’t be able to do it.

But for myself, it somehow didn’t dawn on me that I also had to stop. That as traumatizing as it may have been when the man I used to consider my Messiah cast me away from his children, I needed to acknowledge – in my words as well as my beliefs and actions – that I no longer consider him my Messiah. Or any Messiah at that.

Our words are powerful. What we say, we believe. And we create. And we put out to others.

I’m no longer calling him the Messiah.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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