Last year I was hired to write a script for a video on Mammography. While working on the voice-overs, the actress hired for the job kept stumbling on one line. I knew it sounded awkward but was having trouble changing it. The Director and I looked at the sentence -- The fact that the screening mammogram might have saved her life, is not a myth. It’s a fact. -- and agreed, it's the word 'fact ' appearing twice that makes it awkward. We can't change the last two phrases, I said. They have to go together because that's where the power statement comes from (it's not a myth. It's a fact.). We need to find another word for the beginning of the sentence.
We brainstormed other words, ‘truth’, ‘reality’, ‘actuality’, but none of them worked. We felt hampered by the word ‘fact’ and couldn’t see a way out.
Listening from her perch in the recording studio, the actress spoke up and asked, "What if we moved the 'it's not a myth' to the beginning of the sentence so that it reads, It's not a myth that the screening mammogram might have saved her life. It's a fact.”
The Director and I looked at each other with stunned expressions. Such a simple and elegant solution. But, because I had stated from the onset that we couldn't separate the two phrases, (it's not a myth. It's a fact), we didn't look for a solution that didn't include the two phrases together. My statement of how it had to be, limited our ability to see anything other than making it work the way it was by changing the first part of the sentence, not the last.
The same is true in life.
There is power in our words, and sometimes we use words that limit and inhibit us from claiming our true selves free of the pain of love gone wrong.
We tell ourselves, I'll never get over him. I'll never trust again. I'll never find love again. And, because we see our lives through the context of those statements, we tell ourselves we are powerless to change our thinking and thus limit our ability to move beyond the past to find more creative, original solutions to living our lives in freedom.
My world was turned upside down while in an abusive relationship. Lost and alone, I saw my devastated world through eyes that could not see the end of my story without him in it. Once freed of him, the ending of that part of my journey was easy to see -- all I had to do was remove him to be able to breathe freely again.
But, I still felt the yearning, the desire to think of him.
If I had told myself -- I can't get him out of my mind, I would have looked for solutions that were based on having him on my mind. By telling myself, I will not let him into my mind, I looked for solutions that were free of trying to make his nonsense fit my world today.
I am my perceptions and my world is made up of what I perceive -- not always what is.
The truth is -- I create my thoughts. My thoughts do not control me, unless I give into them. I can get him out of my mind when I make the choices that keep my mind free of thinking of him. When I put my mind into No Contact, I keep thoughts of him from swamping me. And without fear of the Tsunami of memories of him, I can lovingly let myself embrace my life without him.
Before I was freed from that relationship, I believed my life was inextricably tied to his lies, his abuse, his manipulations. I could not see me without him in the picture. By separating the pieces of the puzzle, by putting me into the picture first and by focusing on the piece with me in it without him, I created a picture -- bolder, brighter, more beautiful than anything he ever could have done.
Because my life today is built on the reality of my world without him. I do not feed off of his lies, I do not succumb to his terror, I do not wallow in self-denigrating abuse. I am free.
Like the actress who suggested restructuring the whole sentence, and was willing to separate the two components I thought had to stay together, I am creating my life based on what is possible when I focus on what is best for me and not on what was impossible with him -- truth, dignity, respect and love. I am creating a life that works for me, not against me.
It may not be a perfect life, it may be a different life than the one I thought it would be long ago, but it is my life free of abuse. It is the perfect life for me today.