Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Change the Message

Sort through the message clutter.
We constantly receive messages. We hear them, see them, and experience them. They come from people who know us well and those who don't. They also come from within. We are bombarded with messages and have to choose how to interpret them and live with those interpretations.

My childhood was filled with inconsistent and conflicting messages. I heard encouragement. I experienced joy. I felt included and like part of something much larger than me. However, my voice was silenced, I experienced abuse for years, and I felt isolated and like my life was not my own. I was left to take all of those messages, as extreme and differing as they were, and interpret them. The encouragement was as true as the silence. The joy was as real as the abuse. The inclusion was as authentic as the isolation. None of the messages negated the others. All of them whispered and roared to me for years.

The messages I received from both the love and the heartache did not match. It was up to me to interpret and make choices. What was I going to believe? How would I make sense of the range? The words and actions of others delivered messages, but it was up to me, ultimately, to be the messenger for my life. It was up to me to use the messages to heal what was broken, water what was healthy, and create a message of my own. One that was true. One that I could trust more than the fluctuation of others. One that would usher in growth. One that would direct me to wholeness. While I cannot control other people and some of the experiences that life delivers, I can control the messages I choose to repeat to myself.

Someone may have said that you couldn't be more than who you've always been. Maybe you heard that your life was as good as it would ever be. Perhaps you were told that you were worthless and had little to offer. Change the message.

Maybe you were neglected, abused, cheated on, or passed over. Those experiences may have led you to assume that you deserve neglect, abuse, infidelity, and to be overlooked. Change the message.

You cannot change what has already been said. You cannot change what has already occurred. You can, however, change how you interpret those words and experiences. Someone else's refusal to be encouraging and kind is not an indication of what you deserve. Your past is not the sole determinant of your future. You determine where you go, how far you reach, and how hard you work, but it starts with what you tell yourself. It begins in your mind. For a moment, forget what he said and what she told you. Forget what he did and what she didn't do. For a moment, consider how you feel about yourself, without the external influences. It may simply be time for you to change the message.

Read last week's post, Focus Your Energy.

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