‘Finding Yourself’

blog pictureTen years ago ‘finding yourself’ was common lingo. People would experience a major traumatic event which would cause them to question everything. Maybe it was the death of parent, spouse or child, the end of a marriage, an illness or injury, a loss of employment or income. I have just finished an 8 part series on Pregnancy Loss which details this kind of event for me. During this time, everything – especially my faith – came under scrutiny. I did a major assessment of myself, others and God. I went on a journey to ‘find myself’ as if somehow I had become lost. The problem is that when I did find myself I really didn’t like what I found! As a result I decided to tackle an issue that had dogged me for as long as I can remember – Rejection.

I have suffered some significant rejection in my life and as an adult I felt like reacted out of that emotional space no matter the relationship or context. For example if I was having a fight with someone and I thought they were going to reject me I would reject them first. I would often do what my friends call ‘the stomp out’ or ‘the hang up’. I would physically remove myself from the conflict. I wouldn’t fight fair either. I would verbalise my rejection with something like ‘I’m outta here, I want a divorce, this friendship is over, don’t call me I’ll call you’. I never meant what I said in those moments and would often be back apologising sometime later but the damage was often already done. How does one attack a life-long issue of Rejection? SLOWLY and with HELP (as required) is my answer to that.

Before I go into this further I want you to understand how the process of change occurs for most people. Major change comes to us via something called a ‘paradigm shift’. Think of a paradigm shift as a change from one way of thinking to another. Here is an example. You’re walking down the street and I pass you. You say ‘hi Catherine’ but I totally ignore you. You think ‘what a cow! How rude was that?’  This belief impacts on your emotions. You feel yucky because of the negative interaction and possibly a little bit angry with me. Then John comes running up the road and before you can speak he says ‘have you seen Catherine’. Still a bit upset you say ‘Yeah she went that way. Why?’. He says ‘our house just burnt down, we’ve lost everything’. Instantly your feelings change. You feel sympathy, understanding and concern – all your anger and negative thoughts are gone. Your emotions change because what you believed about the situation changed.

Often we try to change our behaviour and our feelings without tackling the underlying beliefs that produced them. To tackle an issue like rejection requires a more aggressive approach as the beliefs are often comfortable, strong and entrenched. Our life experiences have often re-enforced the internal belief/thought again and again. We often don’t even realise that we have them because ‘they are just a part of us’. We need to have one mighty paradigm shift in our thinking to change them.

There was never one ‘a-ha moment’ in which I experienced a big enough paradigm shift that everything got dealt with at once. Instead I started the process by recognizing the major core belief/thought that I held. It was:

‘I was unlovable and therefore no-one truly loved me.’

This belief created feelings of deep insecurity because I couldn’t trust people. I lived life in ‘survivor mode’ becoming a Jedi master at self-preservation. If my internal warning system perceived any emotional threat it would pull away. I would be ready to hit the reject button before others rejected me. In the event of conflict I would run because I couldn’t cope with my internal belief possibly being confirmed. If I did experience ‘true rejection’ I would literally implode with self-doubt and deep feelings of worthlessness. In the end it was easier to run away because then I could blame it all on the other person.

We develop beliefs through our experiences and while big beliefs are difficult to change there is great hope at doing so – I know because I’ve done it. The first person I ever believed loved me to this day is God. Over the past 25 years his enduring, unconditional love has given me the courage to believe that I might, just might be lovable. After accepting God’s love I had a measure of healing come into my life but it really wasn’t till I met John and was married to him that deeper more sustainable change happened. Marriage, if I wanted it to last, was a relationship that I couldn’t just run away from every time I felt exposed. I was forced to open up my heart and be vulnerable. Fortunately I have never in 14 years of marriage felt rejected by John. My marriage was a safe environment to begin to work through this issue. John was a great sounding board because his perspective of me and the issues were not clouded by damaging experiences. He could see things for what they were. As a result he was able to bring great truth, clarity and value to this journey for me. I have also experienced huge paradigm shifts through a course I attended called ‘Cleansing Streams’. The long-suffering love of friends and family has also bought freedom and acceptance in this area.

There is absolutely no right or wrong way to do this. Your journey is your journey. I do guarantee you that you will not be able to do it alone. While I’ve come a long way in the last 14 years I still find the ‘old thinking’ pops up when I get tired and emotionally run down but the paradigm shifts I’ve had renewing my mind and heart ‘hold strong’ and I pick myself up and move on quickly.

Over and Out,

Catherine xoxoxo

5 Comments to “‘Finding Yourself’”

  1. Love your blog guys. Your willingness to be open and vulnerable here is an inspiration to me. How much treasure is there stored up in people that we never see. Thank-you for your courage, and please, keep ’em coming.

    • Thank you. Likewise you inspire me with your musical and talent and the way you connect to God through it. Greatest blessings on you brother, Catherine

  2. In my opinion what you have willingly admitted could be the “life theme song” for a huge number of people who attend church – self-preservation/protection instead of “take up your cross and follow…”
    May you find a ministry in helping people to stop trying to save themselves from stuff and start living Calvary. It may not always be easy and nice, but in it we find peace.

    • Again thank you. Every week you are so encourging. I never tire of it. We are both greatly blessed by you. Sometimes I think no one is going to read my post and then I think of you and know at least one person is. Blessings and peace to you, Catherine

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