Do you think that you’ll be happy when you finally lose those 15-20+ pounds? Do you think that when you find the perfect man/woman, that’s when you will finally be at peace and fully loved? How about when you finally get your dream job/promotion/corner office? That will surely make you feel that you’re a success, worthy of others’ and your own esteem. Right?
There are some wounds from childhood and adolescence, times when you didn’t get some things like love, safety, and a sense of security being in the world or times when you got some things that you didn’t need that destroyed your sense of wholeness, safety, or security. Those experiences are like someone digging up your yard and leaving huge, gaping holes in the ground.
Looking For Fill Dirt
You can spend your life trying to find things, both helpful and self-destructive, to fill in the holes: careers, relationships, parenting, hobbies, religion, addictions, distractions, and self-improvement strategies. It’s like trying to find anything to fill the void, fill the hole, and stop up the wound.
Avoiding the Hole
You can also spend your life NOT trying to find things to fill up the hole because that way you can say that the hole COULD have been filled in if you had just gotten the dirt. What does that look like?
You don’t lose excess weight, because what if being normal weight doesn’t make you happy? Then what are you going to do? You don’t give up drinking and drugging, because what if you aren’t more successful when you’re sober? You don’t allow anyone to get close to you, because what if, when you finally have that “perfect life,” you have to come to terms with the fact that no one on this earth can make you happy except yourself?
Bad News/Good News
I’ve got some bad news for you. There are some holes that were dug so deep when you were young, that no one and nothing is ever going to be able to fill them in. I’ve also got some good news to go with that bad news. Some really good news. Not so good that it will make up for the fact that those holes will never get filled in, but still pretty good news: It’s not necessary to fill those holes in order to finally be happy, healthy, feel worthy, or successful.
Work Them In
You don’t have to erase them, fill them in, be ashamed you have them, or try to pretend those holes don’t exist. You just have to be okay with them being there, and then work them into the landscaping. You admit those are your wounds. You say, “Yep, those half-filled holes in the front yard are all mine.” And then plant begonias and daisies all around them.
You Don’t Have to Love Them
You have to somehow get okay with big holes being in the front yard. I’m not saying you have to love them. But you have to stop trying to find stuff to fill them in all of the time, thinking “That’ll do it!” Because it won’t. It won’t finally make you happy. It won’t finally make it all better. And just think of all the time and energy you’re going to save just sitting in your lawn chair, enjoying the sun setting on those holes.
Dr. Anita Sanz, PhD, Psychologist
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