Last night, I cried like a child. The tears fell down my cheeks and I could not take in full breaths. It was an unquenchable sadness that arose from deep within. The memory of my 7 year old self came flooding through my thoughts as I remembered her excruciating sadness and intense sense of feeling defeated. As I allowed the memories to resurface, I found my present day self offering my child self comforting words of reassurance. Yet this self-talk was to no avail. All little Michelle wanted was to be listened to!
Earlier during the day, a situation had occurred which propelled my mind into the feeling of sensing defeat. Yes indeed, it was the same, strong, energetically charged word that resurfaced last night. The same strong, energetically charged word that has resurfaced numerous times in the past decades! Little did I know that it would take me back to my childhood years, in particular, to a devastating memory that held such importance in the making of my belief system. In fact, this is how mental health and resiliency are strengthen-through the formation of beliefs that serve at the time and help the mind go from sadness, anger and/or fear into joy! The problem is that the mind does not know when to stop using those created beliefs which lead to un-serving subconscious assumptions.
Without awareness of the neural connections that were being formed within my child's mind, I created multiple beliefs that molded the person I became, the words I spoke and the actions I took as a teenager and adult. Those strong beliefs which served me at times and, all too often, did not were the following:
I must protect and save the vulnerable, even animals.
I must not allow myself to feel defeated, but rather find solutions to my sadness.
Likewise, I must never allow people, young & old, family & friends, to feel defeated, but rather use my strengths to provide them with answers, solutions and hope.
I must never show my weakness (crying, sadness & depression) since I am to be strong. And, at all cost, I am to show optimism & aspiration.
What happened that was so excruciatingly difficult might you ask? Was it some form of childhood abuse? No. Was it the passing of a parent or loved one? No. Was it a severe injury? No. It was the loss of my beloved pet, Lily.
It took place the summer of 1975. Lily had been our pet for a few years and I had grown quite fond of her, and she of me. Afterall, I loved Lily. I played games with her, and even shared my little heart's troubles with her. In turn, she listened to me, loved me back with a wagging tail, a multitude of hand licks and looked a me with those big, beautiful, brown puppy eyes. Truly, Lily was my best friend-my faithful true friend whom I had sworn to protect forever.
Yet, on this one day, 47 years ago- everything changed. As I returned home from school, I searched everywhere for my Lily, but she was nowhere to be found. My mom, who was only 26 years old at the time, sat me on her knees and in trying to console my broken heart, explained the reasoning behind having to put Lily to sleep. She shared her adult wisdom with me, but my young mind could not grasp this logical reasoning in its entirety. I couldn't understand why mom was so scared that Lily would bite any of my younger brother's friends? Lily was such a wonderful dog. She could learn to behave. I could have taught her. I could have made sure she would bite no one! NO ONE!
Within the myriad of my broken heart and tears, my mind decided that this type of incident which was unbearable to my little soul would never ever happen again. I would be the savior, the protector, the problem solver, the doer, a servant to all creatures and humans who would want my help.... I would never ever feel defeated again!
But this was a lie. A lie my mind told my mind. How can this be? How can my mind tell my mind something without my awareness or knowledge of it? The answer is simple: It happens all the time when the mind creates neural pathways (connections). In technical terms here is another way of explaining this miraculous phenomena: "The way your brain created a neural pathway (thought about something) can impact how you respond to that thing for the rest of your life because if you think of that thing the same way over and over again, it becomes your dominant neural pathway." https://lifexchangesolutions.com/neural-pathways/
Let me explain. The connection my brain had made when loosing my beloved Lily caused me to respond to certain situations in specific manners, as well as to struggle and hide my thoughts of depression and sadness even from those within my inner circle. Of course, it also caused me to hate feeling defeated. After all, I was to be strong, capable, able to withstand all pain & suffering! I was to be viewed as always joyful, hopeful, empowering, helpful. I was never to experience a break down.
Yet, as I wept in the night, I realized something for the first time ever. I understood that my intense struggle with not allowing others to see my tears had a direct association with my fear of demonstrating weakness and hopelessness. The question that popped into my head was: "Why must I show my weakness for others to see my strengths?" In other words, why do people put such high demands and standards unto my words, my actions, or lack thereof? Am I not already going the extra mile? Am I not offering much more than most? Must I break down for people around me to see that I am stretched too thin? Or that I cannot save everyone? Can I change my beliefs around sadness and the sense of defeat?
As I listened to myself, I heard the voices of my inner child and my present day mature self. The answer was clear: I am the only person who can change the energetic charge associated to these thoughts and feelings. I alone must reset new neural pathways that will become dominant. I alone must choose new beliefs and actions that serve me today and every day to come. I am gifted with the ability to release and change what no longer serves.
You see, I believe children are born with resiliency in their genes. I believe that naturally occurring resiliency is what happens to the child who looses a parent, so he can deal with the suffering and reconnect to his joy again. I believe that naturally occurring resiliency is what happens to the child who experiences horrific abuse of any type, so she can deal with her suffering and reconnect with her joy again. And I believe it is this naturally occurring resiliency that helps any child who looses a beloved pet, suffers a great injury or other, deal with the pain and sadness by reconnecting to the inner joy once again. Yes, I believe it is this naturally occurring resiliency that guides us to form belief systems in order to see light again, feel joy again, and start living again!
I know your inner child was resilient, because you have made it this far and you are reading this blog right now! I am grateful for your naturally occurring resiliency! Now go out there and discover the neural pathways your beautiful little brain formed. Change the beliefs that no longer serve you and recreate new neural pathways that will grant you the opportunity to live your best, most peace-filled and joyful life!
Creator of MindFit4Life™ & Emotional Fitness® Life Instructor
Transformation Speaker & Author
For more information about discovering the power of listening to yourself and others in a much more effective way or for 1-on-1 coaching (worldwide virtual/in person) with Michelle:
send an email to email@example.com or call 506-988-1018