I learned a lesson one year that changed my thinking. It was essentially that I had control over what I let affect me. Now, this isn’t that foreign of a concept. Everyone thinks you have a choice but then we’re reactionary or silent and hurt.
So what is it that causes us to allow hurtful things in, to stay?
I had a friend sitting on my couch one day telling me how a lady called her some unkind things and made her feel like a bad mom (I’m paraphrasing). Intellectually she knew it wasn’t true but couldn’t seem to shake what the lady said. Without thought, I spit out “because there’s a part of you that thinks she’s right.”
This is why lies are so POWERFUL. When someone calls us a failure it only confirms our suspicion. When we lose a job it confirms our suspicion further. When we yell at our kids, it confirms a suspicion. It really doesn’t take much, especially as children, to develop a belief system that isn’t true when we don’t have someone coaching into us the truth.
The most powerful people in the world are the people who don’t give a rip what anyone thinks of them. It’s almost as though THAT is their superpower.
“Hey, what’s your superpower?”
“Oh, me? Miiiine is eating doughnuts. What’s yours?”
“I know who I am.”
That’s it. They know who they are. Why they are. They’ve proven to themselves that the suspicions of their goodness are true. So when someone comes up and says “man, you really suck at talking to people.” They look up and think “hey man, how’s it going? You just don’t know who I am.”
It’s actually as though each tiny untruth we believe puts a crack in our soul. The tiniest crack lets in the biggest lies. We own them. Tout them around when we’re having a bad day. Some even put on a name tag that says “fearful,” “daddy issues,” “insecure,” “can’t get my life together.”
So how do we close up the cracks so that the lies bounce off instead of cut deep into our souls? Why is it so important to have your own personal boundaries?
For one moment let me sidetrack here and say that building a wall in your heart is not the same as putting up a boundary. The only way I know how to define the difference is the way that it feels. Boundaries are freeing. They free you AND the other person. They make you feel more open. They put your soul at rest. They involve forgiving the person that didn’t meet a need or who hurt you.
A wall protects you in certain situations but long term it’s painful. It cuts people out. It begins to make you feel isolated. It buries hurt. It can disguise itself as forgiveness and a boundary but it isn’t freeing at all. Self-preservation is lonely. Period.
Back to the question. How do we close up the cracks? Truth. Pure, unadulterated truth. I can list out some steps that get the process going but they can really all be summed up into a single word. Truth.