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Never abandon yourself.

I am reading this novel, "Where the Crawdads Sing," that I cannot put down. It's not only a murder mystery; it's a coming of age story. The underlying theme is self-reliance, and following what innately calls you. This is easier said than done. How do we know what is really for us? What the main character tells us is that it must be felt. And, I believe her.

Our mind is always chattering. Psychologists say we have about 60,000 thoughts in a day, and they are mostly on a loop that repeats day after day. This is how we create the stories of our lives. We think, we feel, we decide, we observe, we think, we feel, we assume. Most of us are oblivious to what thought loops play in our minds, but we unknowingly let them dictate what choices we make in our day-to-day.

I am finding that lying just underneath all that mind chatter is the quiet voice of my soul calling me to what I prefer—telling me to follow my bliss. Telling me you can be, do or have anything you desire. You just must believe me. Then enter the mind-chatter, the Doubting Thomas with an opposing opinion. No, you cannot! And little by little, this is how we abandon ourselves. We somehow learn to choose from our mind's limiting opinion instead of listening to our vast intuition.

To hear our intuition, we must be willing to embrace our mind chatter instead of resisting it. We all have an inner critic that too often drowns out our heart's desire. The inner critic's message is always some form of "you're not good enough." This is the underlying cause of all dissatisfaction in life. Listening to and believing in our inner critic is a fear response. It's focusing on the worst-case scenario. It does not believe in our innate value. Not feeling good enough is the root cause of all hatred. And all hatred towards another person is hatred within that has been projected onto someone or something outside.

When we deny our intuition, we deny our true nature, and this is to deny ourselves love. Too much deprivation of love leads to over-eating, over-drinking, avoidant behavior, abandonment, denial of our talent, buying one more thing we don't need, etc. Self-love becomes foreign, so we seek it outside. Unfortunately, this outer seeking leaves us feeling empty inside because no one or nothing can fill us up for long. We abandon ourselves by learning to disapprove of ourselves. We end up riding on a perpetual rollercoaster of ups and downs until something drastic happens to wake us up.

In this book I am reading, the main character, Kya, is abandoned by her mother, father, and all her siblings. She must learn to rely only on herself to survive, and she is only a child. She gets rejected by society and learns to distrust love. She is symbolic of many of us as children. Somewhere along the way, we lose our innate compass and listen to the adults in our life that claim they know better than us what is right for us. We start to abandon our desires to get love from our parents and then drown out our intuition to fit into society. We neglect our needs in favor of serving others. We are taught that this is the right thing to do. The churches teach sacrifice. The world teaches conformity. No wonder most of us are in therapy, overweight, unhappy, in unfulfilling relationships, settling for the life we were taught to accept instead of believing in possibilities outside the mundane.

My main point is that we all have an inner child that somewhere along the way we have ignored and abandoned in favor of outside approval.

These days, I am learning to love my inner child genuinely. I never realized how I had abandoned her until recently. I thought it was my dad who abandoned us because he preferred the escape of booze. Or my mom, who was busy being a single mom and couldn't be there emotionally. Or my grandmother, who was my best friend that died when I was eight years old. Or my friend who was in so much inner torment that he took a gun and shot himself in the heart. The story I learned, people leave, so be tough, rely on yourself. I better build a wall around my heart so no one can get too close because they take off anyway, right?

I don't think I am alone in this story. The point is, I am reliving this story over and over by believing in it. But I have a choice. I can't change the past, but I can change my perception of it. I realized that no one abandons you unless you first abandon yourself. What I mean is, people, come and go, and that must be okay. When I choose to love myself, I am more capable of loving others. When I give my inner child the love and acceptance she didn't get early on, I feel whole. I feel like anything is possible. I feel the love in the world, not the hate.

So, I invite you into the darkness. I invite you to ask yourself, where have I abandoned myself? Let the answers rise without fighting them. Let the debris come to the surface. Let the shadows be there to teach you who you are. Who you are is pure love. When you practice this, the light within you can no longer hide in the dark. Then, just maybe, the whole world can benefit from the glow of your inner light.



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