Reflection Image

Reflection

August 7, 2019 | Carol Campos

Do you ever look at an old picture of yourself and think “What the hell was I thinking?” Yet, at the same time, you can clearly remember feeling like you looked amazing when the picture was taken. Or you remember that your life was in chaos but you hid it behind your posed smile. It’s similar to reading really old journal entries. I’ve literally cringed at some of the things my younger self wrote. And yet, it was me. The photographs, the journal entries…all me. But for some reason I didn’t recognize her. Maybe I didn’t want to. She could be weak, self-indulgent, flighty, and quite frankly, didn’t take care of herself. Year upon year she put up with things that no woman with a shred of self-respect would have put up with. She often played the role of martyr, doormat or victim. She was everything I didn’t want to be and I wanted to distance myself from her as much as possible. But one day, I decided to look closer. I decided to look at her with fresh eyes through the lens of compassion.

It wasn’t until 2012 that I made peace with my former self. As I shed a horrible relationship that went on for years too long, my focus shifted from obsessing about my ex-husband to looking at myself. For the first time I started to wonder about my part in the equation. Up until this time I could rattle off lists of things he had done to me, my daughter and other members of his family. I could tell you about all the times he stole from us, or broke things in a fit of rage. I could recount the times he’d bang on my door in the middle of the night for drug money. I’d describe in detail the times I’d find him in the basement in a crack-induced stupor and how waves of hate and contempt would flow through me as I looked at his slumped body on the futon. He had become a shell of a person, and so had I, gaining some perverse satisfaction from telling the tales of everything I had “overcome.” I can’t blame my Soul for vacating the premises.

What part of the puzzle was I missing? One night, as I pondered this question, I decided to pull a card from one of my Angel decks.

With time and distance comes clarity. Through some hard and intense practice, I learned to forgive him. I learned to separate the person from the disease. I felt pretty proud of myself for a while (as sure sign that I still had more work to do). Yet, I was still having nightmares about our relationship and all the crazy things that happened. It was frustrating. When was this shit going to end? What part of the puzzle was I missing? One night, as I pondered this question, I decided to pull a card from one of my Angel decks. The card that came up was “Forgiveness.” At first, I felt annoyed, thinking “I’ve already done forgiveness work.” But then I read the various meanings of the card. One jumped out at me: “Forgiving oneself.” When conducting a card reading, you always go with the meaning that resonates at that moment. This message resonated and I felt goosebumps—a sure sign that I was on the right track.

For the next few years I did forgiveness work on myself. No doubt that we ARE our harshest critics, and my case is no exception. As I peeled back the layers of negativity, judgement, and “less-than-ness,” little pieces of my Soul flew home. I now see that I used these negative aspects of myself to build a wall of protection around my heart. It was simply self-preservation. It was all I knew how to do at the time. I wasn’t a terrible person.

Is the work done? No. I still have moments where a memory of my ex-husband will crop up and I find myself feeling sad or angry. But now I’m better equipped to deal with it. I know that each time this happens, I’m peeling back another layer. It’s all a part of the healing process. I’m still hard on myself, but I catch myself in the act. I don’t allow myself to go into a week-long vortex of doom and gloom. Now, when I look back at my younger self, I see her as brave, strong and doing the best she could with what she knew. I will continue to forgive her for her mistakes and thank her for getting me where I am today. She gave me the gift of endless life lessons. I often wonder what my 75-year old self will say about the current version of me? To be determined…


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Simon L. | 8/7/2019

Carol, 'Reflection' is a most moving account of your former self, and life's experiences and the passage, the journey into your present with the occasional thought of the past, but no vortex, only positivity. To be able to think about the traumas of last years' is one thing, but to write about them, to share them is another. You are one of Nature's givers. The compassionate account of your life and gradual empowerment will hold the hands of those who will benefit from your generosity. 'Reflection' will heal many who may have experienced elements of you life. They can gently suggest to someone they know to reflect on their pathway from past to the ever moving present. Looking back, you can accept that looking forward is a gradual process, pealing back the layers of negativity. Even though challenging, 'forgiveness' is the gateway to healing. Forgiving others can provide a freedom of the spirit and soul. Saying to another person, "I forgive you" can have a greater effect on that individual than ever thought possible. It also releases the forgiver from hate or punishing thoughts as thought the forgiver too was guilty. Forgiving someone is in a way empathetic because it releases both parties from the chains of the past and provides a release for the present and future. Forgiving oneself, as you have described is a gradual process, and more gently facilitated when referring to oneself as he or she. The same person but in reality a step beyond self condemnation, in order to face situations that have since been overcome. 'She gave the gift of endless life lessons'. Carol, you have encompassed your experiences which will help others reveal their true selves in as much as they too can view their lives from another perspective and remember the bravery, doing what was possible with the knowledge at the time, and only recognizing this when the the positive healing process reveals itself as gently shining stars in the Universe of Love.

The Divine Breadcrumb logo Thank you, Simon! My hope is to help others who are (or have been) in a similar situation.