And so the journey continues this week. …… the road has been painful, inspiring, revealing and freeing. The roads we take often require us to re-examine our life choices, but more accurately the events and relationships that color our choices.
A dear friend of mine refers to these influences as memes. I will coin the term, “the meme within.”
My personal meme is a chubby, but pretty little girl; who’s very thin mother was the queen of backhanded compliments. I have never been quite sure if that little girl was simply jealous of her mother, because of her poor body image, or just resentful she always felt unloved, and unvalued by her parent. As a result, my meme spent a great deal of my adult life actively insisting I seek approval from others and sacrificing self became a way of life, after all my meme was in full control. She needed acceptance and validation from others. Facts I see so clearly now, but ones that have taken me several decades to acknowledge.
My very wise friend refers to the discovery process as, “peeling the layers of an onion.” Each layer reveals the multitude of influences that frame our lives.
As I embarked on the adventure of peeling my own personal onion, there were tears, but tears of relief. There were moments of total recall that brought pain, followed quickly by release. Each layer has allowed me to take out and examine the hateful and hurtful remarks that I allowed to lower my self-esteem for years, and relinquish them for what they were. They were not the words of a mentally or emotionally healthy person. They were not a measurement of my personal worth or my potential. They can only continue to own me and affect me, if I allow it.
Once I was honest with myself about my meme, I became free in a way I have never been free before, and emotionally lighter. That little meme will always be there. She is a huge part of who I am, but recognizing her helplessness and powerless existence then, gives me the unlimited power of knowledge in the present.
I have been driven for years, to nurture others without understanding why. I now choose to become someone that brings comfort and encouragement to others. I choose to become someone who recognizes the meme within others, because I’ve been there.
Maybe your journey is just beginning. The first layers you peel back may direct you to detours of your past; sometimes painful, usually poignant, but once you have revealed these old layers, you can choose to move forward. Acknowledge the meme moments for what they were, then purge their power over your present. Use your newfound insight to inspire and support others who have not yet discovered their meme, and “become the person you needed when you were young.”
Until we depart on the next leg of our journey…. down the Fork in the Road.