My mother didn’t know who I was. When I was born she treated me as if she owned me. As Alan Cohen writes in his book DARE TO BE YOURSELF, “Like an eagle, we have suffered under a case of mistaken identity.” Mother taught me about fear. I learned it well. I forgot that I was a magnificent individual born with a purpose. The teachers told me I was dumb. They didn’t realize what a magnificent soul they were talking to. The kids called me quiver lip, harelip and ugly. One little girl named Selma said she’d be my friend when nobody was around but wouldn’t like me when the other kids were there. I was so desperate to be liked that I let that be okay with me.
For years I tried to fit in so I’d be liked. I obeyed and smiled, was patted on the head and told what a good girl I was and oh, so sweet. I liked that so I became even sweeter and would go out of my way to do things for people whether I wanted to or not.
I remember one Christmas dinner when I was about 8, my aunt asked me to run upstairs to her room and get her cigarettes. “When will I be old enough so I can say no?” I asked. She stopped smiling as she answered coldly, “Never mind, I’ll get them myself.” I learned not to speak up for fear of disapproval.
When did I wake up? There were signs when I’d talk to Rev. Mary Kupferle, the minister of the Lake Worth, Florida Unity Church. I wrote letters to her telling how scare I was and how I didn’t fit in. She would remind me that I didn’t have to follow in my mother’s footsteps. I loved Mary and she let me write the program for her Wednesday noon services. She even paid me to type one of her books for her. She saw my greatness. I was so amazed when I read her obituary and discovered she and mother were born the same year. What a difference between two women!
My friend Ed caught a glimmer of who I was. He was the kind of friend who looked straight into my eyes as I talked and really heard me. One day we met in a Sundry store downtown Lake Worth, Fl. I showed him that one of my stories that I’d written was published in a magazine that was for sale right there in the store. He picked up the magazine, walked around the store and showed it to everyone who came in, telling them that I’d written a story in it, pointing to me. That was fun. We took our raggedy Ann and Andy dolls to the mall one afternoon and had them talk to people walking by. Some liked it and played along with us, others scowled, while others ignored us altogether. Ed and I were kindred spirits on some level. His birthday was the day before mine. I miss Ed and Mary and hope they greet me when it’s my time to pass over.
Bernie, my husband encouraged me when I was doing tarot readings at a sports bar. He told me he heard people say they loved my readings and how good I was.
When I joined Thriving Now, Rick Wilkes and Cathy Vartuli saw my greatness. They always encourage me and Cathy often says, “You Rock, Jean!” As I’ve been working with them with EFT and their brilliant and compassionate coaching, I’ve learned to love myself even when I felt stupid or unworthy as all of us humans feel from time to time. Rick and Cathy tapped with me on these feelings during our calls and in private sessions to help me release those unworthy feelings and to love the real, vulnerable person I really am. I can truly say I love myself no matter what. It isn’t saying I’m perfect because no one is, but to love my humanness, my spirit.
Whether or not I actually fulfill my reason for being born, my potential is always unfolding. Maybe I am fulfilling it now as I write, teach and help people find their own wonderful selves. Maybe that’s what my life is about - courage despite traumas, love despite bullying and glimpses of freedom despite the heavy lessons of fear. Like the eagle I say to myself, Jean, come forth and claim your true identity and soar! Be one with that great mind that created you and everyone else.
What mistaken identity do you have about yourself? Have you seen glimpses of your magnificence?