You and Your Story
Imagine that you knew at birth that you were a master, that you were powerful beyond measure, that you possessed enormous gifts, and that all it would take to deliver your gifts to the world was your desire. Imagine that you came into this world with your heart filled with the healing power of love and that your only desire was to bestow that love onto all those around you. Imagine that you had the innate ability to create and have all that you want and all that you need. Is it possible that at some point in your life you knew that there was no one else in the world like you? And that in every fiber of your being you knew that you not only possessed the light of the world, but that you were the light of the world? Is it possible that at one time you knew who you were at the deepest level and you rejoiced in your gifts? Take a moment now, and see if you can remember that time when you knew the truth of who you really are.
Then something happened. Your world changed. Something or someone cast a shadow on your light. From that moment on you feared that you and your precious gifts were no longer safe in the world. You felt that if you didn't hide your sacred gift it might be abused, injured, or taken away from you. Deep inside, you knew that this gift was like a precious, innocent child that was yours to protect. So you did what any good parent would do: You hid all your magnificence deep inside so that no one would ever discover it, so that no one could hurt it or take it away from you. Then, with the creativity of a child, youcovered it up. You created an act, a persona, a drama, a story so that nobody would ever suspect that you were the keeper of so much light. You were very smart -- brilliant, actually -- at hiding your secret. Not only did you convince others that you were not that; you also convinced yourself -- all because you were being a good parent to the gift that you held. It was your secret -- your deep, dark secret, which only you knew. You were even creative enough to manifest the exact opposite of that which you truly are so that you could protect yourself from those who might be upset or angered by your innate gifts.
But after days, months, and years of hiding your precious treasure, you began to believe your story. You became the persona you created to protect your secret. At that moment you forgot that you had ever buried your treasured gift in the first place. You not only forgot where you had hidden it, you forgot that you had hidden it at all. Your light, love, greatness, and beauty got lost inside your story. You forgot that you had a secret.
From that moment on, you felt lost, alone, separate, and scared. Suddenly you became aware that there was something missing -- and there was. The pain of separating from your treasure felt like losing your best friend. Inside, you ached for the return of your true self. So you began a search outside of yourself for something that would fill the void and make you feel better. You looked to relationships, to other people, to your achievements and awards, trying to find that which was missing. You looked to your body and your bank account, trying to get that feeling back. Maybe, like me, you were driven by feelings of unworthiness that ran so deep that you spent most of your life frantically searching for something to complete you. But everywhere you looked you came up empty.
By the time I was five years old, I was all too familiar with the voice in my head telling me that I wasn't good enough, that I wasn't wanted, and that I didn't belong. Desperate to feel loved and accepted, I set out on the exhausting task of getting other people to validate my worth. Deep inside I believed there was something wrong with me, and I went to great lengths to conceal my flaws. I quickly learned how to charm people, flashing my biggest smile to get them to notice me. I thought that if I was more talented than my older sister or smarter than my older brother, I would belong and my family would fill me with all the love and acceptance I hungered for. I believed that if they loved me enough, I would no longer have to listen to the awful thoughts that filled my mind or endure the painful feelings that consumed my small body.
As the years passed, I became skilled at finding ways to hide my pain from myself and others. When I couldn't find someone to validate me or tell me I was okay, I would sneak across the street to the nearby 7-Eleven and buy a package of Sara Lee brownies and a bottle of Coca-Cola. That dose of sugar really seemed to do the trick. But by the age of twelve my pain was too big to hide: I felt too tall, too awkward, and too stupid. I was envious of the girls who seemed to fit in, who wore the right clothes and had the right families. For years I cried every day, trying to release the inner pain that consumed me. My tears of sadness always had the same message: “Why doesn't anyone love me? What's wrong with me? Please, won't someone come and help me?”
Then, to make matters even worse, one Saturday afternoon when I was twelve years old my mother informed my brother and me that while we were at the beach, my father had moved out of the house. Their marriage was over, and they were...
The Secret of the Shadow. Copyright © by Debbie Ford. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.