There once was a girl named Trayla. She was the softest, kindest, quietest girl in all the land. She was precious to those that knew her, but, to her, she wasn’t good enough. She felt, deep inside, that she was never good enough. She had a younger brother and she thought, he must be better than me, so she looked up to him and tried to make him happy and she tried to be a good little girl who did as she was told and all the things she was expected to do. She did this because she was certain that she wasn’t good enough, so by going above and beyond, at least she was able to act good.
She could control how she acted. She couldn’t control what she was. That was her logic.
So, she went about her life being quiet. In her mind she had many splendid stories, inside her mind she was full of energy and she was a sharp thinker. She was insightful and funny. She never showed anybody that part of herself though, because she already knew that she wasn’t good enough, so she knew that anybody seeing what she was really like on the inside would reject her. It happened once, and once was more than enough.
She remembered a time when she felt like the universe evolved around her. She lived happily in her naïve bliss. Her mommy and daddy showered her with their love and their attention and they shared their presence with her day in and day out and life felt good and easy. Then, one day they brought her infant brother home. He was a delight to see. She loved him at first site. But at the same time, her world cracked beneath her feet. That love and adoration mommy and daddy had bestowed upon her was now bestowed on him and him only. They looked at her differently from that point onward. They were still nice, but the love and the easiness, the at-home warm feeling she had from them was gone.
To her little toddler self that meant she wasn’t worthy. There was something wrong with her. Their attention leaving her was her fault. Their adoration now focused on her little brother clearly meant that he was better than she. She couldn’t argue with them- he was perfect- and she loved him. She would protect him. She used to be loved like he was, and it had been magnificent. She believed in them. If they felt that he was worthy over her of their adoration, then they were right. So, she devoted her little self to helping him out. She would be a good big sister… maybe someday worthy of their adoration again. Maybe she would get their adoration for being such a good big sister.
And she went on living her life this way. Never feeling the adoration ever again. Trying harder and harder to not be not good enough. The pain always deep enough under the surface to remain hidden from awareness, but always present enough to influence every single thing she did. It effected how she did everything. It effected who she attracted for a spouse, the work that she did, the way that she related with casual acquaintances and how she related to money and her experiences with life and how she managed her home and lifestyle.
As the years wore on, she began to feel burdened by her unworthiness. She began to resent her brother and to resent her mom and dad for not recognizing all the hard work she had been doing all her life. She started to see the futility of trying to please them. Their adoration was long a thing of the past. Never once did it ever return, not even for a glimpse.
Her work and her finances were wearing her thin. She was burnt out and her family just expected her to be as she was.
Something had to give.
But she had constructed every piece of her life so carefully that there were no loose pieces to remove. She was stuck. Trapped by her own feelings that she experienced in her toddler hood.
Her entire life built upon that foundation of feeling not good enough.
To her adult self it made no sense, but this wasn’t her adult self who had created this foundation. It was her toddler self.
Ever since the day that her brother had been brought home, she had been creating her life from the experiential feeling that she wasn’t good enough- that was what her little toddler mind discerned to be the explanation for why her mom and dad’s attention was turned away from her and onto him exclusively. She had been replaced. Her position at front and center of her parents’ attention had been taken away from her and given to him instead.
There was no possible way that there was any other explanation to her.
So, she carried this all her life.
And now, as a woman of 35, she was still working as a nurse who’s constantly fighting the same battles day after day and still struggling with her weight and body image issues, because she had an “I” problem…
“I” can’t see my value.
Because of the experience my toddler self had, I can’t see my value as a unique human being.
My poor toddler self was quietly broken that day. Poor sweet little girl.
So from that experience, I learned to be quiet and try to do everything I can to get on mom and dad’s good side in hopes of their adoration and love and attention again. It had felt so good when I had it.
Why couldn’t we both have it?
If it were a choice between me having their attention and my brother having their attention- I would choose for them to give their attention to him. But, why couldn’t we both have been adored? Why did the loving attention stop?
I shall reparent this toddler that is still alive and existing to this day, and I shall shower her with all my love and adoration. She is a wonderful, powerful, important person. No more and no less than any other human person. No more and no less than any other being that exists.
I shall adore her by listening to her.
I shall adore her by feeling her feelings.
I shall adore her by valuing her and paying attention to her.
I shall value her by holding her.
I shall value her by allowing her to come alive again. To be real again. To stop hiding and trying to be a good girl- she already is a good girl, so instead I want to allow her to just play at being her and saying what she wants to say and doing what she wants to do and doing things how she wants to do them.
Mommy and daddy failed her. They dropped the ball once they picked up another child.
I have failed her all these years.
I will hold her now. I will fail her no more. I will cherish her now.
And together, piece by piece, we will reconstruct our life.
No more shall we be not good enough. Instead we will SEE just how valuable, loved and incredibly good enough we really are.
Now we can appreciate my brother for who and what he is rather than holding him up on a pedestal… and I am able to appreciate who and what I really am.
And I can see that my mom and dad did not mean me harm. They simply had another baby!
And that is how she had an “I” problem… and that is how she set about healing it.