The Power of Words

I can’t think of anything more powerful than these seven words. Imagine if those were the first words I heard as a child, the first breath of air I breathed that sustained me and gave me the courage to do anything, try anything, BE anything I wanted to be. Words that gave me the permission to go out and explore, make mistakes, and come back again, not broken but emboldened. Ready to take on the next challenge because the world is ready for me, it accepts me and affirms my place in its orbit.

What would life be like if I knew that right out of the gate I was accepted, respected, and supported by the WHOLE WORLD? Not better than or less than but equal to. And what if the power those words gave me continued throughout my life? Just think of all the strength and energy I’d have to learn and create, teach and share what I have to offer–energy currently wasted on defending myself from people who definitely did NOT hear these words. 

Worthiness As a Prize

Instead, I feel that our worthiness to exist in the world is seen as a valued prize, a pole position rewarded to the strongest, fiercest adversary and not an endowment handed down through an endless flow of love and generosity by those who recognize the worthiness of just being who you are.

Life has become a struggle to prove my worthiness to receive the gifts of love and generosity. I battle for what I think is a finite resource, when, really, it is available to anyone who wants it. What other resource in life has an infinite sized container, refilled as soon as it empties, available when I need it? 

A Self Sustaining Process

If I make the world a better place just by being born into it, then I don’t have to worry about what size, shape, color, or gender I am or what I prefer to say and do to make it better. I see the differences, but I revel in them because getting better means always changing and growing. And if everyone has the same power, there will be an endless resource: a self-sustaining process in perpetual motion. 

Sadly, I was not told these words at an early age. It was not handed down by adults through a family legacy. I did inherit, though, a fear of losing my position of worthiness (a mindset they inherited from their family, raised at a time of greater scarcity) and the skills to keep others from gaining the upper hand, supposedly trying to take what should be, like universal health care, available to everyone.

I learned that to attain personal success,  I would have to make my needs and desires  more important than yours, my qualifications for a life of  joy, love and  happiness greater. Throughout most of my life,  I compared myself to others, especially  their educational and financial status and raised or lowered my expectations to fit my perceived limitations. 

I became what others expected me to become and convinced myself that it was enough.

You’ve Always Had the Power

I learned to protect  what  I thought was limited access to life’s successes and satisfaction and spent years worried that others would take it from me, not knowing like Dorothy that, “You’ve always had the power…” I’ve always been ENOUGH! 

And why didn’t Glenda tell her from the beginning? Her excuse was that “she wouldn’t have believed me, she had to learn it for herself.”

I would have believed it if the people I loved and who loved me said it and meant it. And when I was struggling, added “AND you have to work really hard to keep it a better place.” That’s the rub, isn’t it? Somewhere along the way, the responsibility of keeping the world a better place gets more difficult. And when you don’t have the energy and support to sustain the momentum, telling the next generation, “No, you’re good,” seems disingenuous, foolish, and irresponsible.  It feels like I’m giving them the sunshine without the rain, forgetting to share the reality of a life with choices. It is important that I offer love and generosity and show them how to bestow those gifts on themselves. And to ask for HELP!

A Group Effort

The words are, “you make the WORLD a better place,” not, “you make your life better and the heck with everybody else.” No one goes it alone. Even Dorothy had a support team: a scarecrow with brains, a tinman with a heart and a lion with courage. That’s what is missing from the inheritance declaration–a proviso that says, “You make the world a better place as long as you agree to be a part of and join in the group effort to keep it that way.” I can live with that. 

Be the Person You Most Admire

So…I’m repeating  the words now in my own voice, because at some point you’ve got to take what’s been handed down from the people who’ve actually done the work and make it your own. Don’t keep hoping for a better past in which parents, teachers and trusted adults suddenly join the 21st century, self-aware and willing to access  endless resources to support a journey of personal growth and well-being.  It ain’t gonna happen.

I know now that I  am not defined by the messages of the past. I have made the conscious choice to listen to new updated messages and incorporate them into every word, action and attitude I express. I’m here doing the work every day. It’s a slow grind, but mercifully brings me great joy and meaning in my life. What more can you ask for?

Share the Power

 It’s my responsibility to stay mindful, keep my best efforts going and pass on what I’ve learned to the next person and the next generation. My continued gains are shared in equal amounts and I am as worthy as the next person to  gratefully receive the bounty of everyone who joins us. If I make the world a better place then we will all  have a better shot at making it a better place too. 

What have you been doing to make the world a better place? How did you learn to believe in the words, “You make the world a better place?” Share your words of wisdom during your next session of “Life Lessons with Horses” or write us a comment.