I stopped believing in the tooth fairy! I also stopped believing in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but I never stopped believing that I was a coward. Nor did I stop believing that I was inferior, inadequate and helpless, and consequently, I never let go of the anger or the fear!
I stopped believing in the tooth fairy et al [I can still remember quite vividly the moment I found out about Santa at seven years of age] because somebody told me the truth … that they weren’t real. I don’t recall being traumatized by this realization. It was more like, this is the way it is and I just accepted it! But nobody told me that I wasn’t a coward, so the little boy inside of me kept believing it.
The young mind of a child believes anything his parents tell him. He believes that tooth fairies exist. His mind hasn’t developed to the point where he can discern the difference between fantasy and truth. And so, when he is told that he is a bad boy he believes it. He also believes, perhaps on his own accord, that when he is afraid to stand up for himself, he is a coward.
Imagine the things a child might hear when he or she is growing up, “Don’t be so stupid!” “You make me so mad that I want to thrash you!” “How could you be such a god damn idiot?” Idiot! Stupid! Bad boy! These are devastating to a child’s fragile psyche, and if the child is capable of believing in the tooth fairy, the child is more than capable of believing that he really is an idiot or a bad boy and this sets the tone for a life long pattern of debilitating beliefs, self destructive behaviors and disease.
Imagine again, how differently the child’s life would have been if his parents had said at some point, ” By the way, all those things we said to you, that you are bad boy and stuff, well they weren’t true. We said them because we were angry and because we didn’t feel good about ourselves. We’re really sorry and we hope you will forgive us. You really are a good boy!” The child’s life, or should I say, the adult’s life, would likely have been quite different.
But here’s the thing, it still can be different. Just like we changed our beliefs about Santa when we learned the truth, we can change our beliefs about ourselves, because we’re not a coward and we’re not inferior or inadequate.
Beliefs are just thoughts and thoughts aren’t real. You can’t touch them or feel them. Thoughts can change [we used to think that the earth was flat but now we know that it is round. We also used to think the Easter Bunny was real!]. In order to change a thought we simply need a new thought and a reason to believe it. So what can we do to change how we think of ourselves? What can we do, for instance, to stop thinking [stop believing] that we are a coward?
You can start by saying to yourself that you are the opposite of what you’ve always believed. You can use positive affirmations to tell yourself, “I am courageous. I’m a good person. I always do my best.” Repeat this over and over until you believe it. You can remind yourself that the things you were told simply aren’t true. They were someone else’s idea born from that person’s own lack of self worth.
It might also be necessary to see a therapist, particularly someone who can help you with inner child meditations and healings. Inner child healings are based on the idea that when we experience a childhood trauma, the child gets locked in that trauma until they are able to resolve the experience and let go of the emotional pain.
You can also change your experience through an understanding of the truths of our existence. That we are not simply human beings, but rather, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. We are pure beings of light. We are divine love! All the things we believe about our human existence [including concepts like cowardice] are as Eckhart Tolle would say, are ‘identification with form.’ We don’t know that we are spiritual beings because we don’t learn this as children and so we willingly believe everything we are told, particularly what we’re told by our parents, because to a young child, mom and dad are God and what they say is gospel.
If we knew that we are divine spiritual beings, connected to God, we would never believe that we could be a coward. Nor would we believe in inadequacy or inferiority. We would understand that we’re all equal [I think it would really be helpful if we taught this in school] and we would understand that the idea of cowardice is a mental construct created by humans [animals don’t think in terms of cowardice … they just live].
Whichever approach you choose, give it time. Healing is a process and we each heal at our own pace. Just trust that you’re on the right path.
Have an awesomely courageous day!