At a very young age, about the time you learned to talk, you started to figure out that some things you did were met with celebration and some were met with disapproval. You loved the feeling of positive attention. It felt like an all-over body massage. And you desperately wanted to avoid disapproval. It stung like a birch switch. So you began to change. More and more, you did the things that produced the massage, and you stopped doing things that brought you pain.
Fast forward a few decades.
The years have gone by and you have done many, many things because doing them brought a good response from those around you. You also stopped doing many things because the people around you responded negatively when you did them.
Now that's all well and good if good things means using the toilet and bad things means not touching a hot stove. The trouble is, not everything is so black and white.
Perhaps, after you learned many lovely words and had fun using them, your friends at school told you that you talked too much. The disapproval from your friends stung, and so you stopped talking.
So you took the piece of you called self-expression and you cut it out and tucked it carefully into a box and hid it under the bed.
And so your outward self became like a puzzle with a piece missing.
And then things became even more complicated. You met new friends who wanted to see your self-expression piece. So you carefully brought it out from under the bed and your friends lavished you with the wonderful all-over body massage of praise. So you decided you would only expose your self-expression piece to these new friends. But your new friends brought out the switch of disapproval when you played in the rain and squashed your feet in muddy puddles. So you cut out the squishing feet in muddy puddles part of you and hid it in the box whenever you spent time with your new friends.
Soon you had puzzle pieces everywhere and it became difficult to remember which pieces to reveal when.
And you lost the joy of just being you. You became anxious. You may even have become depressed. But your feelings of anxiousness and depression were not as bad as the sting of that birch switch of disapproval. And so you worked hard to organize your puzzle box and label everything. Soon you became a master at hiding puzzle pieces and avoiding the switch. In fact, you became such a master that your self took on different forms in the company of different people. And soon even you forgot what the whole self looked like.
Maybe its time to pull your puzzle box out from under the bed.
Maybe now you are brave enough to risk the sting of that birch switch and put your self-puzzle back together again. After all, you are much tougher now. You have grown quite a lot. Do you remember the joy of being beautiful you? Do you remember when you could both squish through muddy puddles AND say what you wanted to say? Are you tired of feeling anxious and depressed? Are you tired of carefully hiding self-puzzle pieces in a box under your bed?
There is something magical about the joy of you being beautiful you. It creates light. And when the light of you grows it has the ability to protect you from the sting of that switch of disapproval. In fact, the brighter your light grows, the less you can even see that switch, much less feel it. And the feeling the light produces far outweighs even the wonderfulness of the all over body massage of approval.
I know, when you were young no-one told you about this magical light. But I am telling you now. The trick is that you have to bear the switch for just a little bit while you nourish the light inside you. That, and perhaps the even more difficult part. You have to ignore the all over body massage too. Because if you spend your time pursuing the body massage of approval, as good as it may feel, you will neglect growing your light.
Put the puzzle that is you back together again. Rediscover your joy and let your light grow.
The magic is amazing.
In love and with a box full of puzzle pieces,