"Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose."- Proverbs 18:21 (MSG)
I’ve always been a Debbie-downer (sorry Debbie’s everywhere) when it comes to myself. The rhetoric I’ve repeated around my personhood has been (but not limited to):
You look funny You need to do more Your stomach is ugly You’re a junior in life who’ll never graduate It’s your fault Be more.
I’ve written myself thousands of notes, and not many of them have been kind, or holy, or even fun.
After years of stress, anxiety and a string of difficult circumstances, my body, mind, and heart, went on strike. I’ve been walking out of adrenal fatigue for a while (almost there) now. Which in the past, in and of itself, has been a mark of failure:
How did you let yourself get here? You should have known better Everyone else does better Why can’t you?
Last year, I engaged a holistic GP, Chiropractor/Kinesiologist, and Chinese Doctor to help me on my journey. I changed my diet, cleaned up my habits, and for one week (at the start) I did intense daily therapies. My doctors told me that I was going to feel worse before I felt better. There’s a movement to healing. As a layer of pain works its way out, it exposes the layer beneath, and you feel that one all the way through as it works its way out. Some call this a “healing crises.” When you remove blockages to healing, the pain rushes out, and it feels like you’re getting worse as it’s on the move.
That's what happened to me. Over a few days, I felt worse and worse. On the fourth day, it became spiritual and emotional, too. All those hidden notes I had jammed into my heart were bubbling to the surface. I lost it. At the dinner table, over soup, I told my kids and husband that they deserved better than me, that I was the source of all our trouble. I left the table, the kids finished their dinner and went off to play, Jesse came and sat with me. I cried some more, we talked a little, and then something weird happened:
I felt better. I felt like I had purged something out of my soul. There was a lightness and peace that I hadn’t experienced after a meltdown before. Layers of pain had been removed, and healing was beginning.
I thanked Jesse, and we talked some more. I hugged my kids, apologized to them, and told them that I loved them. That night, when I was lying in bed, and everyone else was asleep, I felt such a conviction over the way I had treated my body and my soul.
Words have power, and tone delivers that power to the target. I had hit my target every single time: myself. I saw it so clearly that night; I could even imagine my organs cowering under my words, growing sicker and more depressed with each syllable. So I grabbed my stomach, I held myself in my arms and said over and over again: I’m so sorry. I love you, and I want to thank you for your hard work.
I almost felt my body hug me back. It was holy and sacred.
(I promise I’m not crazy… well, maybe just a bit.)
Something broke in me that night in the best of ways. And ever since, I have been leaving love notes for myself all over the place.
NOTE TO SELF: I’m sorry for all the mean things I’ve said to you.
Repentance invites healing. Saying sorry – taking responsibility – is a magnet for peace.
If you’ve written yourself too many ugly things, it might be time to start writing some new notes.
Written by Lizzy Milani.