Monday, December 23, 2013

What Lie About Yourself Will You Debunk This Holiday Season?

Me - Circa Fall 1976. Gingham rules.
During the holiday season, passing through the houses of your family, you always get a glimpse of yourself at different points in time. One of the benefits of holidays is the nostalgia of holidays past. Another benefit is the contrasts of what we can see and hear from others versus what we have told ourselves over the years.

The pretty little lies we tell ourselves.

This year, I debunked one of the lies I'd held onto especially since becoming a parent. Ironically, it was the picture you see here that started the debunking process.

Let me frame this picture for you. This picture was taken in the fall of 1976. I was four years old about to be five and had just started kindergarten at Pensacola Christian Academy. Less than 60 days before this photo was taken , the unthinkable happened on August 19th - my young mom left this life on earth.  Now that you know that, look into the eyes of this young babe. What do you see?

I see life. Hope. Wonder. Happiness. Joy.

And that is the polar opposite of what I've told myself over the years. My short fuse and hot temper,  which has really calmed since become a parent,  had always been attributed to anger. I thought that I was angry and that it all started when I lost my mom. I believed that created characterization of myself. It comforted me after a certain rage or outburst, "it's OK, Denise. You're an angry person and you always have been," I'd say to myself, practically justifying my bad behavior. After all, I did lose my mom right before I started kindergarten. If anyone had a REASON to be angry, I did and righteously so. I even gave myself "credit" for controlling my anger well throughout the years.

Seeing that photo above in my dad's house the week after Thanksgiving gave me pause. For the first time in a long time, I stopped and looked at it. Then I proceeded to look at all the photos he had of me from the early days and there are few as we lost many of them in a storage debacle in the 90s.  Lots of laughter, loads of light-hearted moments captured time and time again. Each photo of me showing a love of life and joy. Each photo confirming the previous one, I was genuinely a happy child. And that happy child has grown up to be a genuinely happy adult.

Yes, I have an explosive temper. Yes, my fuse is short. But I am not angry. Passionate, emotive, outspoken but not angry.

Now I ask you, especially in these days of family visits and holiday festivities - what lies about yourself are you holding on to? In what ways can you revisit who you are and embrace your true characteristics versus the false ones you may have created?

I am relieved to realize that I am not angry, I get angry but I do not hold anger as a character trait. What an amazing discovery this holiday season! Can't wait to hear about yours.


  1. I'm debunking being so hard on myself. My new mantra: If I put all my effort into something and I don't accomplish anything; then it wasn't meant to be.