At Sunrise we do weekly parent webinars to provide education for the whole family. I’m lucky to be doing this cycle of the Webinar. I will be going over Dr. Brene Brown’s curriculum based on her book Rising Strong. The heart of the curriculum examines the stories we tell ourselves when we fall and how to get up again. A powerful lesson to be taken from Rising Strong is “The most dangerous stories we make up are the narratives that diminish our inherent worthiness. We must reclaim the truth about our lovability, divinity, and creativity… This may be the most dangerous conspiracy theory of all. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past thirteen years, it’s this: “Just because someone isn’t willing or able to love us, it doesn’t mean that we are unlovable.”
Let me illustrate the power and danger of these negatives narrative we tell ourselves by looking at past client of mine. Grace, who has given me permission to tell her story, told herself and truly believed she was only good enough when boys desired her. This lead to several boyfriends, sexual assaults, a rape, and a handful of suicide attempts. After each of these falls Grace’s shame would grow and she believed she was unlovable. So in order to feel good enough again and escape her shame she tried to be desirable to boys and this heartbreaking cycle would start over.
While at Sunrise using the Rising Strong curriculum and developing a strong sense of values with Grace she began to develop a new narrative. It wasn’t easy. It took about 8 months, 2 worried and willing parents, 2 solos, 4 songs written by Grace, 5 levels, a canceled home visit, a massive purge of old friends (both online and real life), a handful of swear words direct at me and countless tears.
I knew it was all worth it when I receive the following text message from Grace after she graduated Sunrise. (And yes, I did cry after I read it):
“I just had an epiphany and I need to express it to someone. For the first time in my life consistently I really love myself. I think that I’ve come to appreciate myself because I’ve finally accepted myself and realized that I don’t have to change any part of myself. I’m pretty dang awesome. Today I was getting ready and I thought ‘hmm I’m kinda beautiful’ and then it got me thinking. I’m in the same body with the same face that I’ve had my entire life and I’ve never thought that I was even close to beautiful so what’s different now? It makes me think of the ‘looking at myself through a lens of love’ that I was taught in Sunrise and I think that’s exactly it. I didn’t change myself physically but I changed the way that I look at myself. And it feels fantastic. I am confident and I don’t need anyone’s opinion of me to form my own. Instead of trying in vain to hide myself and shift into something “desirable” I have realized that I already have everything I was trying to become. I’m so happy with who I am. I’ve just been thinking of where I was exactly a year ago from today and things couldn’t be more different. I loathed myself and now I’m my own best friend. I make myself laugh. What I love about myself now is that I allow myself to be loved and I refuse to be an object of desire anymore. I am free and I can look myself in the mirror and say “I love you” without feeling a twisting sense in my stomach. Now it may sound like I’m prideful or boasting which is not my intention. It’s just groundbreaking for me to have no desire to change who I am in a negative way. I’ve stopped having to prove myself to others because I’ve proved myself to me. I know it’s a miracle that I’m alive and it baffles me that I could possibly have a life this sweet. I’m sorry, I totally went on forever. I just had to share my thoughts with someone who’s seen me since day 1 and knows how big of a deal this is for me :)”
Grace this is a big deal for anyone who has struggled with feelings of being unlovable. Thanks for letting me share your painful and powerful story.
If you would like to learn more about the Rising Strong process please join us for our Webinars Friday Mornings at 9am MST. For details on how to join, please contact your therapist.