Adverse Childhood Experiences and the path towards healing. You are not alone.
I share my trials, my victories, and my stories with you in hopes that if any of you were ever touched by childhood abuse or neglect, as I was, you will see yourselves in my experiences and feel strengthened to voice what you had not been able to before. I hope we can learn together why we respond to life through a particular lens, and that there are ways to climb out of this prison of pain, silence, and shame.
My name is Bess Hilpert

“I AM…”

Thought, Word, Action…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel unsure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. As we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Dr. Brene Brown, I Thought it Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame

It was not until I journeyed the finding I path that I gleaned I was more than the wounds that defined me. It was that walk that introduced me to the light that is in me and is in each one of us. The light that is our truest, deepest self. The part of us that never was hurt, that was there waiting for us to trust in its goodness.

I recently reread the “I Am Sorry Thoughts” newsletter from January 2023 after I caught myself saying “I am sorry”, yet again, to my husband over something totally benign. It was in that moment of hearing those words so easily float out of my mouth and without hesitation that a flicker stirred deep within me.

What was I really saying? What was the neural message I was ingraining in my mind and body? Did I truly believe that what I AM is “sorry”? According to the Oxford Dictionary online, sorry has the following meanings:

– feeling distress, especially through sympathy with someone else’s misfortune.
“I was sorry to hear about what happened to your family.”

– feeling regret or penitence.
“He said he was sorry he had upset me.”

– in a poor or pitiful state or condition.
“He looks a sorry sight with his broken jaw.”

It’s the third definition entry that bothers me in the literal meaning of “I am sorry”. Am I really saying that I AM in a poor or pitiful state?

As Dr. Brene Brown said above: “We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.” What “I AM” is not sorry. “I AM” blessed. “I AM” worthy. “I AM” goodness.

The path of finding I opened my awareness to the Divine that lives in me and each one of us. The great “I AM” is love. The great “I AM” wants me to know who I really am and if I constantly am thinking I am less than, small, or not worthy, I am not honoring who I really am. In that instance I saw how my thoughts dictated my words and my words were the catalyst for my actions. Do I walk around in the world small, or do I believe in all that I am, and am capable of accomplishing?

Honestly, my history makes it hard to remember WHO I AM a lot of the time. I get caught in the web of shame, not-good-enough, and fear wash-rinse-and-repeat cycle. But I got knocked over by this wake up to who I really am. Who each of us really are when saying the words “I AM.” Pause and take that in.

I paused. I let that sink in for more than fifteen seconds. 😊  Subsequently, it has caused me to catch myself observing my inner dialogue and choosing to say all things true after “I AM.”

Can we employ an alternate phrase to the words “I am sorry”?  Something that doesn’t suggest “less than” to my subconscious? What about “Boy, I know I can do better than that.”  “My apologies”  “Pardon me”  “Geez, that slipped my mind” “Oh my, that’s on me”   “I’m going to correct that right now.”  “I regret the inconvenience I caused you.”  Even a simple “Sorry.” or “Sorry about that.” doesn’t disparage me.

Yes, I mess up. Yes, I tend to say I am anxious too many times. I am scared, but I also can sense thoughts and hear words on the other side of the trauma continually reminding myself that I am worthy. I am love. I am loved.

I quoted James Clear, Atomic Habits in the “I Am Sorry Thoughts” newsletter as saying: “every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”

What is your new identity? Who are you really?

I am becoming more aware of this pattern: What are my Thoughts? What are my Words that follow the thought? What is the Action that captures my essence through these words? What is the life I am thus creating in this moment and this moment and this moment? “I am….”

I leave you with this thought from spiritual thought leader and poet, Mark Nepo:

“Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond.”

I challenge us all to pause, take a breath, and add your truths to “I am….”

Until next time, friends.

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