“Trade in your fairytale story for the belief that you’re okay and your suffering will stop instantly”

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak at the Salt Lake Youth Detention Center a few months ago.  There were about 60 kids who were all locked up for many different reasons: Theft, Vandalism, Alcohol, and Drug Offenses, Assault, etc.  These were the reasons for their loss of freedom but I pointed out that they were locked up well before they actually found themselves at the detention center.  They had all locked themselves up with a fairytale story they were telling themselves about themselves.  Yes, I said fairytale!

In my experience, I have found that this story is universal with most of us who struggle.  Not just kids but adults as well.  This story is actually a fairytale.  What is a fairytale?  It’s make-believe, something that isn’t real.  This fairytale story cements the belief that there is something wrong with you, that you are damaged, or that you are just not good enough.  This is a self-made prison!  A prison that these kids are trying to run from or numb out.  Human beings will lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, pay and destroy themselves just to feel different from these beliefs!

Most of these kids were victims and some point in their lives, victims of the actions of others.  Abuse, sexual assault, bullied, or by some accident.  These experiences were real but the story that followed is when the fairytale began.

I had a female client that had come to see me because she was really struggling.  She said she hated herself and wanted to be dead.  When we sat down I asked her to tell me, why the struggle?  She just started to cry and sob for the next several minutes.  I asked her what was wrong?  She said she had been raped.  I could tell this was something that really was causing her great pain, which I understand fully.  I was thinking that this must have happened recently. So, I asked her, when did this happen?  She said 20 years ago.  I was a bit surprised that it was that long ago.  I told her that her pain was caused by a fairytale, that the story she was telling herself about herself was not real.  She got angry with me and said it was real!!  I said I know what happened to you was real but since then you have been telling yourself a fairytale.  What’s been the story, I asked? She said that I tell myself that it was my fault, that I am gross, that I am not loveable, I am ugly, and I will always be alone.  I asked her to prove to me your gross, prove to me your unlovable.  She sat there like a deer in the headlights.  Eventually, she said, I can’t prove it.  I said, then what does that mean?  I’m not gross, I’m loveable, she said hesitantly.  I said ABSOLUTLEY!  I said what happened to you was wrong and that person should be in prison for life for he did to you but that does not mean you need to be miserable the rest of your life for it.  Stop telling yourself a lie, the fairytale story and you will stop suffering.  The light turned on and she got it.  She is now doing amazingly well.

In James Allen’s book, “Byways of Blessedness” he stated this beautiful truth about the importance of an immovable center:

“In the life of blessedness self-reliance is of the utmost importance.  If there is to be peace there must be strength; if there is to be security there must be stability; if there is to be lasting joy there must be no leaning on things, which at any moment may be snatched away forever. 

A man [or woman] does not begin to truly live until he or she finds an immovable center within [themselves] on which to stand, by which to regulate their lives, and from which to draw [their] peace.  If [they] trust to that which fluctuates [they] also will fluctuate; if [they] lean upon that which may be withdrawn [they] will fall and be bruised; if [they] look for satisfaction in perishable accumulations [they] will starve for happiness in the midst of plenty.

Let a man or woman learn to stand alone, looking to no one for support; expecting no favors, craving no personal advantages; not begging nor complaining, not craving nor regretting, but relying upon the truth within them, deriving their satisfaction and comfort from integrity from [their] own heart.”

As a child learns to walk in order to go about from place to place of itself strong and unaided, so should a man or woman learn to stand alone, to judge and think and act for themselves, and to choose, in the strength of [their] own mind, the pathway, which [they] shall walk.”

Discovering that immovable center starts with ending the fairytale story.  Just because we have been through a horrible experience does not mean we are now not good enough or that something is wrong with us.

One of the things I tell my clients is this:

“The most delightful surprise in life is to suddenly recognize there is nothing wrong with you.”

I hope you enjoyed this article.  Thank you for your time.

Todd Sylvester