When I was married, I had not done any of my healing work yet. I was searching, but was still mostly unconscious about what drove my choices and behaviors. One of the most common phrases I would say to my husband during those years was, “Why don’t I matter to you!!?” He would respond with frustration, “You do.” But I didn’t believe him, so I would rack up all the evidence to support why I was right.
These conversations would escalate and escalate until we weren’t really talking to each other at all. We would end up talking about how we talk about how we talk. And in all that, I continued to feel like I didn’t matter and he felt attacked.
One evening, the two of us had dinner together at Applebee’s. We had a good time. When we walked into the house after our date, he headed to the back yard to work in his garden, while I stood in the living room having a meltdown about being abandoned yet again. “Why don’t I MATTER to you?”
What I didn’t learn until after the marriage broke apart was I had brought a giant suitcase filled with I Don’t Matter to my marriage. And since it was at the core of my worldview, I saw everything through that lens. Didn’t call me? I don’t matter. Late for dinner? I don’t matter. Done with me to go work in the garden? I don’t matter.
In the grief support group I attended, I began to understand that my losses were not just the deaths of my parents. I also made translations of these events. And since I was 13 and 23 when they occurred, they weren’t necessarily translations based in truth or love. They were based in fear and pain. “See, the world sucks. I’m not safe. I’m not cared for. I don’t matter.”
We all have those deeply held false beliefs about ourselves.
I don’t matter.
I’m not good enough.
I’ll never be accepted.
I don’t belong.
My work was not in learning to communicate better with my husband. My work was not in changing my self-talk to be kinder to myself. My work had to go deep to get to the root. I had to see what those translations of painful events were that I had made long ago, see the falseness of them, and make new ones based on the truth. Here’s how.
Own it. Own it. Own it.
When I finally admitted it was ME, I was the one with all the I Don’t Matter baggage, I could finally start getting real about it. As long as I was blaming Adam (my ex), or my boss, my job, the government, or anyone else, I was stuck. It. Was. Me.
Tell someone who is mature enough to help you through this. Not someone who gets on your I Don’t Matter bandwagon to validate your unconscious thinking. We all need someone to help us see the truth. Tell your story.
Heal Old Wounds.
I had to get a lot of help to identify what the lies were that were keeping me stuck in these painful patterns of relating, then self-destructing. I had to learn the truth, over and over until it sunk in. Until it took root. I matter, and nothing that happened to me and nothing I did can change that. It is just how we are in the eyes of God. We matter.
I read a lot of spiritual material, self-help, motivational and inspirational material.
I listen to music that keeps me rooted in the truth.
I take my walks for physical, emotional and spiritual health.
I pray, sing, chant, meditate, dance and find other personal ways of connecting to the Spirit of Truth so that I stay rooted.
When I know who I am, my choices reflect that. When I know I matter, and that I am good enough, my choices reflect that. This is healing. That is how to change for good.
“You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them.” – Iyanla Vanzant
“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” – Oprah
“Our deepest wounds surround our greatest gifts.” – Ken Page