Every human being is born with innate core needs to be loved, valued, and to experience healthy, trusted relationship. However, because we do not live in a perfect world and this often is not our felt reality, as children we develop beliefs and behaviors in an attempt to meet these unmet core needs. We will do whatever it takes for us to feel loved, valued, and accepted. In this process we become conscious of the expectation to perform in a prescribed way in order to please those within our circles of relationship. Our goal is to meet our needs, but it often results in a crisis of identity as we begin to believe the self-devaluing lie that we are not good enough.
Sticks and stone will break my bones, but words will never hurt me. “A common childhood chant meaning hurtful words cannot cause any physical pain and thus will be ignored or disregarded.” What a lie! Words can and do hurt! Especially when they become engrained in our thinking and form an automatic pattern of thought concerning our self-image. Every form of injustice establishes negative, fear-based memory in our physical brain. This then taints our internal narrative and falsely shapes our belief system regarding ourselves and others. These lie-driven beliefs often drive us to secretly hide our pain behind self-erected walls of perceived protection.
The sad reality is that life is not fair. When we experience disappointments, frustrated dreams, or have hurtful words thrown in our face, we can easily adopt a belief that something must be wrong with us. When coupled with manipulative, deceptive, selfish, and corrupt relational experiences and organizational structures, we can become engulfed in a sense of powerlessness. Before long, confusion begins to influence our mind to believe lies instead of truth and shame rather than self-worth.
Spoken word artist, Teena Hall, shares her former battle with self-devaluation and the shame that shaped her self-view and worldview in her spoken word, Shackled Within – Smiling Without.
Shackled Within – Smiling Without
Just because you don’t see shackles
does not mean I am free
You see, you don’t know
what freedom is to me
And until I feel safe
I will not tell
I keep getting up – going out
Putting my face on for the world
When I get home, I crawl up into a ball
I die a little more to myself, that day
In the too quiet sanctuary of my Un-home
Home is where one lives
I am simply going through the motions
I’m not truly living anymore
If you don’t take time to really know me
you don’t know I am living a lie
A lie designed to protect me
from the full understanding of just how much was stolen from me
When my purity was stripped away from me
By those that chose
to prey on a young person,
unable to save herself
There were those that did the unspeakable, in the secret places
Where those ones choose to reside
They live their lies too
It’s a sure thing that the predator today
was most likely the prey on many yesterdays
They make a resolution to be the quarry no more
For sure, I was not interested in being the game to be stalked
And my subliminal conclusion became
To prey on my own brain
Unable to defend itself,
My brain laid low in the grass of my panoramic existence
This, after decades of allowing
seasonal life partners to deflate me
Deflate me of any notion I had had of furthering myself
Once I ceased to numb out with Benzos and Oxy for over a decade
I had begun to slowly chisel away
at my own brain matter
And in a matter (of months)
I came to the end of myself, quickly
I pummeled myself with a barrage of toxic thoughts
From Punch and Judy
Puppets from long ago
I had become my own concealed puppet master
Finally, I ran out of demoralizing scenes
And I realized
I will no longer
choose to remain
When Teena discovered her personal value, her spoken words became instruments to bring freedom and hope to so many.
It is time for you to see the intrinsic value of your humanity and become aware of the gift that you are to your world.
Your freedom will allow you to become a generator of value to those around you as you freely release your voice to and for those living in silence.
Your past or present does not define who you are or what your future can be. The fact is, when your past no longer plagues your present, you will be empowered with the tools for a prosperous future. You will remember the days of injustice and self-devaluation, but they will no longer have the power to control your view of self, others, or the world around you. You will remember the painful events, but they will no longer cause emotional suffering. Compassion will then motivate you to hope-filled action as you begin to reach out to others. This is how healing begins—first within and then without as it ripples beyond to the world around you.
Your voice is too valuable to be silenced, your contribution too treasured to be hidden, and your life too beautiful to be suppressed.
With much love and validation,
Dr. Melodye Hilton
‘Unmasking Prejudice: Silencing the Internal Voice of Bigotry’ invites all of us to recognize and remove the hidden masks of prejudice so that we can have a hand in changing the cultural narrative and bringing healing to our land.