The 4 year old boy was sitting on the top stair while below him his mother and father were deeply in conversation which he knew was about to result in separation. His father had suitcases packed and was leaving. Just as his father placed his hand on the doorknob the boy shouted “DAD.” The father stopped, but didn’t turn around. The boy shouted again, “DAD.” The father turned the door knob and walked away. The boy never saw him again. This was a terribly important moment in the boy’s life and he was left with the belief that, “My own father didn’t love me enough to even say good bye.”
The consequence was a life lived from the belief that he couldn’t possibly be lovable. Of course, his relationships reflected that and similar belifs stemming from it about his unworthiness and all that that implies.
Years later, in his mid-thirties, he found a gifted therapist who helped him uncover this seminal story from his youth. She asked him this, “Would you be willing to go back to that place and time and then ‘trade places’ with your father; you be at the door and he at the top of the stairs?” He agreed, and shortly began to sob…and sob….and sob….uncontrolably, for several minutes. When he finally stopped, the therapist asked him what happened. Through his tear drenched face he said this, “He needed to leave this marriage to save his life, and he was afraid that if he turned around he never would have been able to leave…..for he loved me so much he’d have had to stay. He loved me too much to turn around.”
Over the course of a few more sessions with the therapist the man’s life started to change as he began living from a totally different “foundational” belief. His relationships, work, and lifestyle began to shift in response to the shift in this belief.
The point that needs to be made here is that there’s no way of knowing which of the two stories was TRUE since the father was never found again. BUT…..a whole life was transformed by the simple shifting of a BELIEF.
Just like the boy/man in this poignant story we all live with a whole set of beliefs about ourselves. We took them on before we were aware enough to question them. And, they were taught to us largely by people who cared for us; even loved us. They were teaching what was taught to them. It was the best they could do. Many are negative and judgmental, but none are TRUE. And, if our beliefs aren’t true, then perhaps we get to CHANGE THEM if we wish.