Believing is Receiving.

“You’re nothing better than a whore.” As a young child I didn’t know what that meant but I did know that every time my dad said it I felt worthless and unloved. As an adult I did my best to escape him. But even when I had the respite of being geographically away from him, I was unable to distance myself from him in my mind. The words with which he had insulted and abused me were a source of torment.

I grew up believing I was unwanted, useless and ugly. With hindsight I can see that as a child I had been placed on the path of self-fulfilling misery because I didn’t believe I deserved any better. In adulthood, one of the main causes of my depression was that I never felt ‘good enough’. That translated into: I wasn’t pretty enough. I wasn’t clever enough. I wasn’t interesting enough. I wasn’t good enough to love. The list was endless.

To enable my emotional healing I had to learn how to deal with all the negative affirmations that I had carried around with me. It was a painstaking process of examining every damaging thought. Those I had previously accepted as a truth, I had to learn to reject as a lie.

“We are what we believe we are.” ~ Benjamin N. Cardozo

No longer allowing the words of others to define me was a breakthrough in my life. After a life-time of believing and receiving the worst, this was not going to come easily. It felt totally unnatural to think positive thoughts about myself or my life, but I was determined to make that transition from victim mentality to survivor mindset.

Occasionally my past does creep back into my thoughts, and sometimes I face criticisms and rejections. But now I no longer internalize them and wear them as a label. Because today I know I am loved, trusted and respected by the people who matter to me. And I love, trust and respect myself.

You can’t change what someone has said to you, but you can change how you respond to it. You can make the decision to stop receiving the bad and start receiving the good. You can stop believing you can’t and start believing you can.

Believing is receiving.

Top image thanks to Jane Hinchcliffe

And a massive thank you to the wonderful NZ CATE who awarded me The Compassionate Communicator award.The award is “to recognize and reward those who blog for the benefit of others as well as themselves.” I’m delighted to accept it from this lovely blogger

The Freedom of Forgiveness.

“I’ll never forgive you.” Said in the heat of the moment it can feel like you really mean it. You’ve been hurt. The pain is unbearable. You will never forget and you will never forgive. End of story.

Except that it’s not. Not wanting or not being able to forgive brings further anguish. It doesn’t diminish over time like a memory can. It can filter into your soul filling you with bitterness, intolerance. Thoughts of revenge will keep you trapped in the very past that you despise and keep your heart like stone.

Forgiveness is the key to freedom. It will release you to live the life as the person you were meant to be. Not the person held captive by the actions and words of someone else.

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”     ~ Corrie Ten Boom

In my own life, one of the main barriers preventing my recovery was not being able to forgive. Until I could, I was going to continue holding onto the anger and pain. I was going to continue looking for something to numb me from reality. And I was going to carry on thinking that life owed me. It didn’t.

For me the greatest healing came from forgiving the mother who had abandoned me and the father who had abused me. It was a journey over many years requiring patience, determination and courage. Forgiving isn’t a transient emotion, it’s a decision that continues over time. It was worth it. My reward was a life free from the horrors of my past and the liberty to enjoy each day with a clear mind and an open heart.

Of course there have been many other instances since then that I have been lied-to, insulted and betrayed. Each time I have had to make the choice to forgive. Even when every fibre in my body has screamed ‘Never!’ I have still resolved to make my peace.

Forgiveness is not a form of acceptance or surrender. It is a battle cry. Another person’s actions have already stolen enough from me and I am refusing to let them take any more. Even if there is no recognition of wrong-doing or apology, by forgiving I am taking control of a situation over which I had none.

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King.

Have you ever replayed an event over and over in your mind?  Have you driven yourself half crazy doing it? Has thinking it left you feeling depressed, frustrated and emotionally exhausted? You need to let it go.

Remember that forgiveness is not to be confused with being a doormat or allowing the offender to ‘get away with it’. Neither does it mean you should not express your grief and upset. It means that you are willing to move beyond your rawness and vulnerability. And you are willing to let go of the negativity and animosity that hold you emotionally hostage.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”  ~ Lewis B Smedes

Reclaiming your spirit of compassion will release your body, mind and soul.
That’s the freedom of forgiveness.

Top image thanks to Kathleen Tennant×7    Bottom image thanks to Elle Major

The Gift of True Love.

It was the final straw. After a difficult few months, another little set-back had presented itself. It wasn’t just one of those days. It had been one of those weeks. As I sat down to gather my thoughts I noticed my two daughters standing in the doorway. Reassuring them that I just needed a bit of time to myself and that everything was okay, they ran off upstairs.

A little while later they came to find me. Their faces lit up with excitement as they eagerly presented me with beautifully decorated hand-made paper cone. Inside was a collection of affirmations written by each daughter in bright coloured pen.

‘You’re understanding’ ‘You’re caring’ ‘Fantastic friend’ ‘Lovely personality’ ‘You’re the best mum ever!’ The loves notes went on and on.

As I read through each and every ‘love note’, nothing else seemed to matter. I was experiencing true love from my daughters, at a time when I needed it most.

“The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.” ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

In the past I had searched for love in all the wrong places. I had believed that I couldn’t find love because I was unlovable. But the truth was that I couldn’t love anyone because I needed to learn to love myself first.

As I started on my journey of emotional healing I first found love through faith. It was a gift that was not easy to receive. Years of rejection had made me wary. Allowing any sort of love in my life was a huge risk for me. On the one hand there were endless negative possibilities that could damage me further. But on the other, there was the potential for my broken heart to be healed.

I decided to give a love a chance. I wasn’t looking for the physical, romantic love that can easily fizzle out. Instead I looked for trust, respect, acceptance and commitment. It meant learning to love myself at this level first. But once I did, I was able to open up my soul to those who could offer the same.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Lao Tzu

Life will never be free from challenges and difficulties. But the love I receive from faith, family and friends give me all the strength I need.

Everyone needs love in their life.
Everyone needs the gift of true love. – Top image. Thank you.
Bottom image thanks to Lisa Ferrante

A Whisper of Hope.

Life without hope is no life at all. Hope is a source of expectation, motivation and desire. It keeps our dreams alive.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19 NIV

News reports regularly inform us of situations where hope has been abandoned. It tells us that the optimistic possibilities are no longer an option. Instead there is discouragement, despondency and despair. Hopelessness can mean giving up physically, mentally and spiritually.

Many years ago I sat as a patient in a hospital meeting. It was clear from the level of my depression and my alcoholism that I had no wish to carry on living.  A group of professionals were discussing my past and projecting my future.

The psychiatrist said something that I will never forget. “If I had gone through what she’d gone through, I would want to kill myself too. I’m 98% sure that if we discharge her, she will be dead in a week.” I sat silently but thought to myself, ‘If I stay here another week I’m 100% sure I’ll be dead.’’ I could understand why I felt so hopeless, but I couldn’t understand why this should impact on anyone else.  I didn’t want to be in a place where there was such negativity, so a few days later I discharged myself.

As a result of what I can only describe as a small miracle I was offered a place at a residential rehab. They too had realistic doubts but at the same time they had a whisper of hope. But that’s all I needed. A whisper. It didn’t need to come from me. Someone else’s hope, no matter how insignificant, was infinitely better than none.

“When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” Author Unknown

As I started to heal from my past, so the whisper of hope started to become part of my being. It filled those spaces where there had once been pain.Today I don’t question whether I have hope ~ it’s simply become a part of me. It’s the part that overcomes my doubts and fears. It’s the part  that perseveres even when I don’t want to. It’s the part that refuses to give up.

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”
~ Maya Angelou

And as for my hopes for the future? I have dreams for myself and for my family. They fill me with joy, excitement and anticipation of good things to come. For I now know that no matter how impossible my life may become, there will always be hope.  And all it takes, is a whisper.

Top image  thanks to                                                                                              Bottom image thanks to Barbara German