A common theme this week has been speaking with people who are embodying a family legacy. Even if you no longer have a relationship with your parents, you are still having a relationship with your parents. At all times this is so.
So when I say I have been speaking with people who are embodying a family legacy issue, I only mean that I have been speaking with those who are already aware that this is how life works.
It’s how we keep working on whatever we struggled with that was between us and them. If you had a parent, for example, who never honestly supported you, didn’t believe in you, expressed negativity that you and your ideas had inherent value…then even after they are gone from your life…you are still carrying that conversation within you.
Spiritually that fight that you had with them, moves from the external (with them) to the internal (with you). What happens is that what we have not yet worked through with them, still wants working out to happen. It is like an arrow that hasn’t yet found a target.
It will break open inside you eventually. Instead of convincing someone else of your value, you will be faced with resolving the question inside of your own psyche.
“Am I of value?”
“I am not sure”
You are now the challenger and the one who tries to recapitulate the challenger. You become the adult and the child in one body.
I say break bread with these two. Both of them need room to breathe. Both of them need a place in the sun and in the shade. Most of us never had to the chance to engage directly with parents who couldn’t see us for who we were. After all, how could they? We know that if you don’t see your value, you won’t really see it in another, not without pretense, not without ersatz self deluded confidence. Believing in others is shallow water when we loathe ourselves. What would happen if you had the knife edged judgement of your mother inside of you…alongside of your soft sided self that wonders if you have a place among equals? What if there is nothing to do in order to get away from it…because there is no possible way to escape?
Therein lies the truth. If there is no escape, then there must be no need for one. Why are we made in ways that bind our hurts to us, if not to find a way to love them? Every painful projection upon us is the result of a person who never resolved every painful projection upon them from another.
So you work it out. Don’t go anywhere. Stay with it. Keep what hurts you closest. Do not be surprised by how you won’t be able to flee. One reason why…is because the awful things they told you, those things are (for some of us) the only remaining connections to them that we still have. We all err. We all hurt others. Everyone’s trusted companion is someone else’s enemy.
Your contribution to the world can be made by making peace with what is fighting inside of you. The war for self esteem can’t be won through force. You can’t defeat any part of you without hurting the rest of you. The war for self esteem is a stalemate. It’s a brokered peace signed by a heart big enough to recognize how your hurts can transform you into a better person, when you must be one. And right now, you need to be one. Not later.