I’ve learned more in the year 2020 than all my 52 years of life combined. Growing up, I was taught to put other’s needs ahead of my own. To push aside my own feelings in deference to those around me. To be soft and unopinionated. To be less of who I am…to not be too “much.”
This is abnegation at its core. In religious circles, it’s perceived piety or the martyr’s selfless act of relinquishing life for a greater good. In conservative and antiquated norms, it means denying our natural desires for uptight societal norms and views.
That all ended for me in 2020.
In exploring the deeper parts of myself, I discovered some truths that cut straight to the seat of my soul…
I conspired to bring abnegation to my own soul. I cut myself to the quick many years ago.
I allowed it.
It’s not a badge of honor, but instead, to me it was the veil of mourning. My soul was grieved for so many years and I could not for the life of me understand why.
Why was it that the same people would come into my life year after year causing grief, pain, and distress? To take advantage of my kindness and love?
What did I do to make these things happen?
The answer became clear to me and when it did, 2020 became the year of 20/20 vision. It was beautiful in haunting and menacing ways.
I went back in my mind to key times in my life growing up. Back to when I was abandoned by my mother, sexually abused by my father, emotionally abused by my paternal grandmother. These were areas of my life as a young child where abnegation was expected and developed a life of its own.
I was expected to put my feelings away about being abandoned by my mother. To not have feelings about it because my father “saved me” from a life of abandonment only to be hemmed into incest and shame.
Abnegation is the word I use for such things. And rightly so.
Over time, it was me who chose the people I allowed into my life. By allowing them in and loving them fully and knowing they might hurt me, I was fulfilling the deepest untrue belief that abnegation instills in vulnerable children…that I am unworthy of love, time, joy, or anything of value.
Do you see how that works?
I kept choosing people who would do those things to me over and over again, vowing never to allow it to happen again.
And then the conspiracy of abnegation would move swiftly to reaffirm it’s lifelong death song within my soul, to make me feel helpless, uneasy, and grieved deeply.
Then one day I realized I had to actually ask forgiveness to my soul for the conspiracy of abnegation. It was me all along. I had to stop pushing my own feelings aside. I had to protect my own beautiful and timeless being from the onslaught of others needs above my own.
I was born anew in 2020.
When I made agreements with my own soul to protect her and love her deeply as she deserved, she no longer cried out in the night. She no longer writhed in anguish. She is free.
I love her.
If anyone keeps having issues with people harming them emotionally and even physically, it’s time to look inward and make a new agreement with your soul.
Agree to protect, honor, love, and cherish him or her at all costs. If you make agreements with your soul…a contract of sorts, you won’t want to break it. It becomes a marriage covenant between your thinking self and your eternal soul.
You might get flack from those who were so used to you giving yourself until you are empty, but that’s a good thing. Smile at the distinction that has been made and that the displeasure another is expressing means that you are not conspiring to abnegate yourself any longer.
Honor all timelines of yourself. The timeline of your childhood, when you were helpless and vulnerable. Grieve with your younger self and acknowledge the pain you might have felt fully. This isn’t about what an adult might have done to you. It’s about what you have been through. When we are vulnerable and don’t know we’ve been trained to abnegate ourselves, we do it unconsciously…sometimes for the rest of our lives if we don’t catch on!
Another timeline to honor is that of your teen years when you were afraid to speak your mind. Acknowledge the pain you felt when fear sealed your mouth shut and you couldn’t express your feelings properly.
Honor your young adult timeline when you knew better but thought you were going to lose out on something so you denied your own beautiful wisdom only to lead you down the path of conflict and self-interest. Self-interest is not the same as honoring yourself.
To honor ourselves means we no longer deceive, push away, or suppress our feelings anymore. We honor all parts of ourselves- even the dark corners that we don’t want to look at. Even those need our love.
To have the courage to pierce the veil of mourning in the dark corners we don’t want to see, is to no longer need abnegation or the constructs that others may have expected us to live in.
Freedom can be yours, but it takes courage to do the work and end the conspiracy of abnegation.