When I was young and in grade school, I could not pronounce the letter R and saying my name Darcy came out as Docy and brought great laughter from my classmates and great humiliation. I withdrew into myself and stopped being myself before I ever knew who I was in life. I stopped raising my hand in class even though I knew the answers, and reading out loud was one of the most embarrassing things that could happen to me and it happened on a daily basis.
I figured if I just didn’t say anything or do anything in the class I could slip by and not be seen or heard. This didn’t work that well as my teachers tried to help me. But I didn’t see it that way when I was young.
My teachers sent me to Special Education classes which in those days was a little room at the end of the hall where the stupid kids went for help. I was in shock and disbelief. I was smart! I just didn’t like being made fun of! How dare they send me here, now everyone knew I was stupid…Those were my thoughts at the time and I also was sent to the same room for speech therapy to try and correct my speech.
Again they were trying to help me but I saw it as an assault on who I was, and not any help at all. The truth is that I had a learning disability, and I struggled with severe anxiety because of it. Everyday was a struggle for me. Spelling, grammar, reading, writing, the whole thing was so confusing to me. I saw all help as personal attacks on me and I really believed that I was stupid and I would never grasp anything that I was being taught.
I ended up failing grade 3 and I was devastated. Now I was really stupid having to repeat a grade. I lost all my friends as well. When you are young and in grade school sometimes your group of friends is all you have and young children can be the cruellest and meanest human beings on earth. I lost every friend I had when I failed that grade. I was even more humiliated as I still had to attend Special Education class and speech therapy class after I had failed. I allowed this to slowly pull me down and my self esteem was completely gone.
I struggled all through grade school, and each grade was more difficult for me as I managed to squeak by each year with grades that were just passing, never better than a 60% at any time. This was the way school was for me always, even when I was in college for music – the one thing that I was good at – I never had high grades and also managed to just make it through the program as well.
Education and school always brought out the worst in me. Anxiety, stress, and depression were just a way of life for me. When I decided that I had to let go of this part of my past, it was very hard for me. But I had to look at it in a new way, a way that made me realize that back in those early days, my beginnings were a sign of my strength and resilience.
I had to let go of my old way of thinking about myself and replace those old negative thoughts with positive ones and not only that but I also had to forgive myself, not hold resentment for who I was back then.
I was a 9 year old boy in grade school and I never knew better, I just did what I had to do to survive and that had to be seen because it is very important.
As much as I didn’t want to, I had to see it, I had to accept it and own it. Forgive myself and also love myself.
Forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give yourself, and it is so powerful!
I forgave my little 9 year old me, and I gave him permission to not be stressed out anymore. I gave him permission to not struggle with anxiety, be free from the things that were holding him back, keeping him trapped in the past. I gave myself permission to be a 9 year old boy who had no way of dealing with what was happening to him. I gave myself the joy of being 9 years old, everything that went along with it, a free mind, a bright outlook, I gave myself the gift of letting it all go.
I was able to do this because I was able to see myself still as that little boy and it was terrifying that at the age of 47 I was holding so much hate, so much anger, so much humiliation. It would come through in so many ways in my life. Whenever I faced rejection in life, I was that 9 year old boy. Whenever I slipped up with my speech, I was that 9 year old boy. If I did something wrong in my life, I was that 9 year old boy, so I had to learn what forgiveness was, and believe it.
I was always very good in therapy, saying the right things, doing the right things, writing the right things and Mastora would always say “That is great Darcy but do you believe it… because you are extremely smart and you are a great writer and teacher! You will always say the right things but never believe them!”
She was right, I would always say the right things and never hold them up high in my life. Never truly believing them or in myself. So, I had to learn to forgive myself and it was hard, very hard. Here is the thing about forgiveness, you have to do it for yourself and no one else, because at the end of the day it is your mind that is not at rest, never the other people’s minds. Sometimes the other people have moved on and what you think was a big deal was nothing at all to them.
I had to figure out how to forgive, to break down the things in my life that were hurting me and still there from my childhood. I came up with a way of forgiving so I would believe it and truly let go.
Learning to Forgive
Learning to forgive is all about self love! I never thought about it that way until I was taught what it really meant to forgive and experienced it first hand in my life.
To forgive means taking the time to look at the situation that happened to you with honesty, truly feeling it and truly acknowledging the impact it has had in your life.
I had to look back at grade school and had to really come clean about it. I was a little 9 year old boy, just still new to the world, new to school, I was growing and learning and I needed help but I didn’t accept it and I fought against it. I saw everything that was being offered to me as an assault on me. I withdrew and allowed my feelings and thoughts to control and change me.
The emotional and physical responses I experienced because of this time in my life were huge and I had to acknowledging what impact it is having on me now as an adult. I had to do this before I could move forward and forgive and heal.
My physical responses:
If I was every faced with rejection or failed at something in life I would go flush, my head would get hot, my heart would race and pound in my chest. I would stiffen up, I would physically collapse into myself try to disappear, make myself really small. I would clench my teeth and my hands would sweat. These reactions were all clues and I never paid attention to them before. Not only that but if I thought about the past and what had happened to me, I would also still have the same reactions. Still present in my life, and still so strong as if it were happening to me now.
My emotional responses:
I would start my negative self talk, feel sorry for myself and think the world is against me.
I am stupid.
I will never fit in.
I will never be successful.
I am worthless.
I will never be like other people.
These negative thoughts would always be sitting in the back of my mind at all times and they would jump into action and feel real to me even when they were totally false.
The impact it is having on me now:
When I am faced with any rejection in my life, I mentally go back to that time where I withdrew and I think to myself that I am never going to be smart enough, I will never fit in and the world is always against me. I believed this fully 100%, my past thoughts haunting me at 47- and it was all a lie.
It was not true! I could cope now that I had many tools from therapy and I could see the world in different ways. I was good enough to fit in and even if I didn’t, I saw strength in that! I saw strength in being a unique individual who didn’t fit in but stood out.
I had accomplish many things in my life. Hell, I wrote 3 books and was teaching classes 2 to 3 nights a week! I wasn’t that little boy still stuck in the past and not able to cope. I had positive proof now and I didn’t have to listen to my old thoughts anymore! I was ready to not only forgive my 9 year old self but I was also ready to love him! Praise him! He survived and was thriving now!
I finally decide to forgive myself. I had to say it out loud and then I wrote it in my journal. Then I truly forgave