There are many, many things that I needed to hear as a kid, things that could have helped build my self-esteem, battle my depression, curb my suicidal tendencies. But instead of list all the many things that would have been good to hear, I realized that there was only one thing that I really needed to understand, that everybody needs to understand, especially children growing up in abusive households.
My parents taught me to be helpless. I was afraid of doing anything because of my father’s explosive and unpredictable anger. I believed I couldn’t do anything right, that I was a failure, that I was useless. So even though there were resources available to me that I could have used, I didn’t see them, understand them, or really believe I was capable of helping myself. There were so many things I didn’t do for myself because I didn’t believe I was worth it. I
“Everyone has to take care of themselves.”
There are exceptions. There are caveats. There are extremes where we go too far and need to let others take care of us as well, but really, this is the basic human truth. We have to take care of ourselves. We have to bath ourselves, dress ourselves, feed ourselves. Most importantly, we have to guard and protect our freedom, our happiness and our well being. If we do not guard these things ourselves, if we leave these essential duties in the hands of someone else, we risk abuse, neglect and abandonment.
We have the power to take care of ourselves, to go out and get the things we need, to talk to people, to move our lives forward. But power is worthless if a person doesn’t know he or she has it. Useless if a person does not know how to use it.
So please, take a minute to consider what it means to have the power to take care of yourself. For me, it meant the freedom to buy a pineapple at the grocery store (just for fun), to buy new clothes (because I need and deserve good fitting and nice looking garments), to go on vacation out of town (because I can and I want to). What does it mean to you? Do you have a story about how you realized you had power in your life?