Many of us carry baggage from our early lives, like little toxic memory pods which burst open occasionally and thwart our growth and development. The 20th century poet Philip Larkin wrote this (slightly edited by me for the sake of decency):
They muck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra, just for you.
But they were mucked up in their turn By fools in old-style hats and coats, Who half the time were soppy-stern And half at one another's throats.
Man hands on misery to man. It deepens like a coastal shelf. Get out as early as you can, And don't have any kids yourself.
Perhaps you can relate to being mucked up in your early life. Perhaps you can remember some of the lies that children sometimes get told: "you're no use", "you always get it wrong", "always do what you are told to". While rejecting the poet's conclusion that no-one should have children because of the inevitability of this process, we do need to do something to stop this ongoing cycle of negativity. One way to let go of the lies that we have learned is to learn some new truths, truths which contradict the lies and which lead us into growth, into life in all fullness. Here are some examples:
- I am unique and beloved of God.
- God has a plan for each of us. That includes me.
- It's ok to want or need something from someone else.
- The fact that someone says no to my request doesn't mean I shouldn't have asked in - the first place.
- Turning the other cheek is not the same as caving in. Jesus was not a walk-over.
- God is with me wherever I am.
- I can stand it if I don't get what I want or need.
- During the temptation in the desert Jesus said no three times because it was right to do so. It is not un-Christian to say no.
- There is no law that says that other people's opinions are more valid than mine.
If we can let go of the lies that we have learned we are much less likely to pass them on to others.