The spring cleaning this year seems more intense than ever, and no, I am not just talking about closets. There has been an intense draw to dig deep and clean out the aspects of my self that no longer are supporting my life. Of course, that wakes up the fear, like when you consider getting rid of that ugly, oversized, comfy sweater that’s become a woobie-blanket….”but what if I need it”!
Talk about getting rid of a behavior or pattern that no longer serves you triggers the fear that you’ll somehow throw away something you really need, or will in the future. “Just in case”. But, if we look closely, the thing we fear we’ll lose is the reason it was created in the first place…like safety.
I dug around my emotional closet and discovered three false selves that I’ve been living with for a long time. The liar and the thief, the follower and the fatty. All three were created at a very young age in an effort to adapt to fear because I felt unsafe, even at the cost of authenticity, which I can guarantee you I knew nothing about consciously at that age. My young primal self simply understood fear or love.
Briefly, the liar and the thief was created from a reaction to the belief that I have to hide what I want because they won’t give it to me or let me have it. As a kid, I would lie to my mom where I was going when I knew she would’ve said “no”, or I would steal gum or make-up because I didn’t have the money for it. This is the part of myself that also lies to myself about what I want because I fear what I want will make me unsafe by way of being hurt or rejected. Lastly, I believe I had to hide what I want because I wouldn’t be accepted if I said I liked that or I wanted that…to the extreme that I have hid, or denied myself some things I like.
The second false self is the follower. The short version is I learned in elementary school that if you stand out you could get shunned or beat up…and by your friends. Where I had natural abilities in leadership, athletics or drama, I hid for fear of rejection or punishment (the “who do you think you are, let’s kick the shit out of her” thing). I also learned to take a back seat to others desires in order to be safe. Additionally, it spilled over creating a fear of failure, pressure, responsibility, commitment and success because I would have to be the leader of my life and take ownership of it. I didn’t understand that at that early age.
Last, but never least, is the fatty. (please forgive my crass title but the weight problem just didn’t seem to cut it with the other names). This false self was created from fear of rejection, hurt and abandonment (see a theme?). I feared being seen that I’d be judged and deemed unworthy. Like the other two selves, the fatty is about hiding and suppressing my wants and natural abilities. In all three false selves, turning away from love, light and nourishment has caused damage, but it is repairable. the fatty adapted from not having the tools to manage my fear of people and the world. the fatty was protection. But what I just realized, she was also my bully. She had to keep down any impulse I had to express or know myself to do her job of keeping me safe.
The unintentional creations…these three false selves were all born of survival, and as I started to work to get rid of them, they have been my bullies at times. What do I fear I will lose by giving away these tired and worn-out behaviors and patterns? I’d say safety, but I don’t believe that is true anymore. I have other tools now. Don’t get me wrong, they served a purpose and I am very grateful for them being there at a time when I didn’t have other tools. They were there when I didn’t know anything else. But I do now. Cultivating love, light and nourishment in my life as I have has allowed me to see the aspects of myself so clearly.
So how about you? Any false selves laying around the closet that need to go to Goodwill?