Monday, December 24, 2012

What About Me? How Bankruptcy Crisis Led to Freedom to be Real

I once went bankrupt. The crisis of it felt like falling into one of those pit traps set for wild animals in a forest. It often seemed like a money pit. But at heart I knew my crisis was about my belief of being worthless. My terror of being abandoned, with zero love, zero connection, and of having to be real and ask for help. Somewhere in me I knew I'd be punished so severely I wouldn’t be able to bear it.

That terror had been alive within me all my life, biding its time to manifest. Hovering like Harry Potter’s Dementors. I had suppressed it, though, and bankruptcy tore the blinders off my eyes. So money wasn’t the cause of my crisis at all, although it was hard to accept at first. I kept hoping money would fix everything. I guess we all do it – if only I had money my life would be okay. 

Fixating on that let me avoid the truth that I didn’t have good boundaries; didn’t know how to process my emotions. Didn’t know I had any rights at all. I didn’t believe in myself. Self love? It was an alien concept to me. I desperately wanted love but I didn’t how to find the trustworthy people. I let people exploit me and I didn’t know how not to. 

Much easier to win the lottery than take that baggage on! When I did take it on and faced the reality of my self esteem it was unbelieveably painful. It was the worst horror nightmare come true. It’s when I realized that my enemy wasn’t out there, it was within me, and nobody could overcome it for me. That’s when I really felt abandoned and alone and terrified.  

It’s no wonder we don’t want to face our truth. It’s painful and terrifying. No wonder we’ve created films and books of myths and epic melodramas about coming to terms with the pain that’s locked inside us, and with the truth of who and what we are. Of having to sink to the lowest point before we can begin to change. Nobody wants to go there. Nobody does it willingly.

But violently hideous as it is to face, something miraculous happens when you do. I guess you’re released in some way that defies description. I know that as I’ve peeled away the layers of denial that I was just fine Jack, I’ve begun to feel incredibly alive and increasingly connected.  

It was a fantastic point of no return, when I made the promise to myself I will improve my life  skills, I will listen to what I need, I will protect my heart, I will never let anybody hurt me or override me again. I will have happiness and love. The point of no return is a kind of death. Death of my willingness to be unhappy.  

It's given birth to learning how to live with freedom from persecution and abuse, in big things and small ones. Freedom of speech, freedom to have a home, warm clothes, nourishing food, education and decent-paying work, back-up and support, love, connection, a meaningful life, career, relationships. Freedom to be real, to love and be loved, have meaningful relationships. Freedom to have fun, oh yes.  

It is a Maslow’s hierarchy of needs all in one, a Personal Constitution, a Personal Bill of Rights.