What is a Myth really these days?
It is a popular belief or story that has become associated with a person, institution or occurrence shared by a group to illustrate a cultural ideal. It is a fiction or half-truth that forms part of an ideology. Our ideology being the set of beliefs by which a group, family or society subscribes to, but it can also be based on speculation that is imaginary.
In a nutshell, a myth is not a fact.
In adult life we often spend the second half of our lives sorting the myths from the facts. What we are taught in the first half of our lives from elders may include myths and truths. In order to make sense of ourselves, our lives and the world we live in we must learn when and how to debunk the myths.
So what is a Mythunderstanding then?
Well it is not an official word you will find in the dictionary, but it is a word I love that I heard from an indigenous elder a few years back. I believe it applies to many of us in adult life regardless of race, colour, age or gender.
If you, like me, have carried any MYTHUNDERSTANDINGS about yourself like one carries excess baggage, you may relate. Some of us emotionally challenged individuals report that for many years, simply because somebody in our past told us that a myth about us was a truth, we carried it diligently from our past into the present. Only to discover years later it was not ours to ever carry in the first place. It was their baggage, but they convinced us, or in some cases forced us to carry it for them, and being young and naïve, we did as we were told.
You have encountered a MYTHUNDERSTANDING if you have you ever discovered something great about yourself and your ability that someone in your past said you did not possess?
Have you had labels stamped on your emotional baggage as proof of places your heart has travelled to, but instead of saying Paris and New York, they say Unlovable and Incompetent?
Unlearning Myths about ourselves can take years, especially if we have believed them for decades. To suddenly surrender a belief or a myth can leave us feeling emotionally disoriented.
Because if the myth is not true, what is?
What else were we told about ourselves that is also unfounded and based solely on another’s opinion?
What then is Bullshit and what is not (Bullshit being the technical Australian translation for MYTHUNDERSTANDINGS).
For example, I was told repetitively by elders that I was a scatterbrain and not as clever, athletically competent, attractive or compliant as other children in my tribe. Therefore those myths became my belief system about myself for many years.
Out of loyalty to my elders I held these myths close to my breast and made them a self-fulfilling prophecy. I lived the life of a female for the first 33 years of my life on this planet acting as if these MYTHUNDERSTANDINGS were true. For if they weren’t, where would I fit in my biological tribe?
These days I do not fit into my biological tribe at all. Mainly because I will not keep the family secrets about all the incest, raging addictions that are still enabled and denied and domestic violence. I write about my recovery and they feel betrayed. I have to cop it on the chin, for they don’t like it nor me. I have been deleted from family wills, and uninvited to family events since 1995. That has bought with it much sadness, but also much freedom to be who I truly am and always was, before my myth education commenced.
Since my recovery commenced back in 1995 I have been unlearning the teachings of these myths and found that I was not a scatterbrain, but definitely a fragmented child because of the violence and trauma I lived with. I am not conventionally clever, but have areas of intellect that I am most proud of. I am physically strong and competent with my daily spiritual, emotional exercise routines and attractive in my own way. I have decided to keep the non-compliant myth and embraced it as a treasured adopted truth of my own, as conformity is to me like the colour beige, it holds little appeal!
Take a moment to ponder any MYTHUNDERSTANDINGS you have been told about yourself repetitively that you have digested and resigned yourself to as truths for many years?
Were you told you were too this or too that?
Was the person dishing out the Myth educated MYTHUNDERSTANDINGS way back then a happy and fulfilled human being? (I know it sounds like I have a literary lisp.)
The elder who convinced you who you were and who you were not, do you respect them and wish to model their behavior still today?
Would you today, as a trusted elder, ever label a child with those verbal myths handed down to you?
Another of the MYTHUNDERSTANDINGS I have been unlearning over the past years is that sadness and anger are not wrong.
Huge, huge concept for me to unlearn.
I was taught for years that if I feel sadness or anger it means there is something wrong with me and people won’t accept or love me nor want to be near me if I am sad or angry. Therefore for too many years I became angry with myself for ever being sad.
Exhausting not just for me, but also for those trying to love and comfort me, I’ll tell ya that for nothin’.
I feel sad about things that actually are sad by the way. But my MYTHUNDERSTANDINGS handed down by the elders to the tribe was that …
“We don’t do sadness, and we don’t do anger and people that do are a problem and a burden”
So with that myth as a part of my heart’s formative culture I spent the first 33 years of my life trying to deny my anger and sadness. I used booze and drugs and made myself very unwell.
I have learnt that the myth about sadness being something to be ashamed of, avoid and get rid of is quite frankly a very dysfunctional bullshit myth. I was told once that love and fear are opposites sides of the same coin, you don’t get one without the other they both work to mobilise the heart.
Two of my favourite authors ,Marianne Williamson and Jim Rohn, both remind us that when it comes to emotions the only feelings we need to fear are the ones we ignore. Marianne’s view is that …
“Emotions need to be felt the way food needs to be chewed; emotions need to be digested within your heart the way food is digested in your stomach”
Jim Rohn also offers some words of wisdom for us to digest as we review our MYTHUNDERSTANDINGS …
“The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy.”
I hope this message was helpful as you review any MYTHUNDERSTANDINGS overdue for deletion from your emotional filing system.
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™
This Word Vitamin is an excerpt from my latest bookset “The Four Seasons of the Heart”. If you would like to order your own full set of Daily Word Vitamins one for each day of the year, in book form for yourself or as a gift just click on the SHOP tab and place your order.