I attended a new writing group last night. One of our exercises was to free write for 20 minutes. The theme was to confront your inner critic-that voice that keeps us from achieving our goals/dreams. My conversation was how my wise side would counsel and encourage the side of me that doubts my writing. I received some feedback that perhaps I didn’t dig deep enough to confront a more self-denigrating voice; that is, that voice in our own heads that tells us we aren’t good enough.
I discovered an amazing truth about myself and my process. That negative voice that drove me to push through my life on my own is completely gone. In its place is a more softened version of myself; in its place is something I call wisdom. I also realized that how we process difficult times in our lives is how we grow fully into our actualized selves when all the hardships are behind us. We either become better versions or we wither under our own negativity. I chose to be the better version from the time my father left when I was nine. I even remember saying to my nine-year-old self, “You don’t need your father to do well in school and become somebody. Show him that you are strong and won’t let his actions affect how you live your own life.” As it turned out, my father never understood what it was to be a good father before he died young. I always knew it was not my fault that he was a flawed human being. And I have learned to forgive him.
I am not one to look back and beat myself up for any mistakes I made in my life because I tried to learn from them and move on. However, in last night’s exercise, I learned that I am the strong woman I always wanted to be because of my past and the choices I made to turn my attitude from fear to self-empowerment. Then a simpler truth hit me between the eyes, a truth I want to pass on to you:
Look back on your life and assess how far you have come. Look back on your childhood hurts and see how you moved beyond to live a productive life now. Pat yourself on the back and say, “Wow, I have worked hard to be a vibrant, happy person who loves my life. I am a warrior, a survivor, and a very self-empowered human being.” Now, read closely this parting thought and don’t forget it: “I did all this myself and no one, I repeat, no one can ever take away the power that is I. I have all it takes within myself to make my life meaningful, productive and happy.” And this is where I drop the microphone and say, “BAM.”