Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Problem of Mattering

The one thing I had wondered, since I was very little...maybe 7 or so, is why anything matters. My religious upbringing gave me the first signs that something was amiss.

Guess what, people. The only thing that matters- is whatever you think matters. Unfortunately, the Universe, God, whatever you call the divine larger power in your life, didn't impress tattoos regarding the meaning of your life on your forehead at birth.

My (adopted) mother made me feel very bad about life from an early age. She was not there for us in any real sense of the word. She herself was very insecure, an alcoholic, and emotionally abusive. She would yell at me for sitting with the family reading a book or doing homework, and not breaking up fights between my siblings that happened in front of me- saying "The only thing that matters to you is whatever YOU are doing. Why don't you look around you and take care of something besides yourself!" This was usually followed by admonitions regarding my "laziness" or lack of effort. All this yelling at ME for not doing HER job of mothering.

So in my tiny little 8, 10, 12, 14 year old heart...I took her word for it. I withdrew into myself and became very introverted. I started thinking passively about suicide- "What if our car just goes off the road into the river? That would be convenient."And then I started thinking that nothing matters at all. If what I wanted didn't matter to my parents, how could it matter to me? As a child, I had no power to manifest what mattered, except in my daydreams.

As an adult, these thoughts continued. I felt powerless to get what I wanted in life. I started to suppress the questions about what I wanted. It became difficult to ask for things that I wanted- even if it were a simple request, such as what restaurant to go to, what to do on a Saturday afternoon. God bless my husband for putting up with me during my completely wishy-washy phase of development.

So here it is- the problem of mattering. If something matters to you, it means you want it.

If wanting things is difficult for you, because things happened in your past to create blocks against you believing in things, it can be difficult to bust through those blocks.

Here are questions I had about things that mattered to me-

What If I Care?
What if I Try?

Those what if's are all completely fear-based.

If I care about this, it will be taken away from me, die, leave, or betray me.
If I try to do this, it won't be good enough.

My fears about caring had to do with the fact that my birth-mother left me at 8 months old...my adopted mother abused me, both of them died before my 18th birthday, my father betrayed me by not protecting me. My mother would dangle things I wanted in front of me like a carrot, and snatch them away at the last moment as a form of bizarre punishment. For example, if I were invited to a birthday party, I would be dressed and ready, holding a wrapped present, and she would tell me that I didn't clean the bathroom properly the night before and therefore would not be going to the party. When I did things, she would tell me they would have been better if I had tried harder...my 2 hours of piano practice daily would become 4 the next day if I didn't practice "enough..." She told me throughout my piano career of 8 years of weekly lessons, 2 hours of practice a day- you'll never make any money as a musician. Better think of something else.

It sounds like she was "Mommy Dearest," doesn't it? But she had her own problems that made her this way. She grew up in a very abusive household. My two uncles are totally screwed up as well, and now I don't even know them anymore. I relate this to you, dear reader, so we can empathize and feel compassion for each other. I think everyone's parents mess them up, at least a little, because none of us are perfect.

So where to go from there, when your upbringing does not validate your needs and wants, the things that matter to you most? How do you go from thinking about it (rumination) to moving forward, a brightly Illuminated soul? The answer lies in a lot of forgiveness, and making new choices.

For me it was simple, it came all at once, after long hours of study and meditation that allowed me to open up and bring new beliefs into my life. It is very important if you want to change something integral to yourself that you first examine your belief system and figure out which beliefs are yours, and which were taught to you and support negativity. If a belief you hold from childhood only brings negativity into your life, you need to break it apart and rebuild it to support your positive growth as a person. But that's another post :)

Simply this: can you say this, hold it in your heart, and begin to believe it?

If nothing matters, then everything does.

Everything I do...

Everything I say...

Everything I believe...

Everything I experience.

So go forward, and BE what matters to you. Others will see you for what you really are, and you will be able to love yourself fully and share that love outward.

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