I was very lucky. I was told this almost every day as a child. I was lucky to have hot food, clothes and people who loved me. Others weren't so lucky.
It's strange how, as a child what we're told over and over can do one of two things: create a deep and long-standing belief that what we were told is true, or create disbelief and complete resentment over it, both of which can have equally devastating consequences as an adult.
Being told I was lucky didn't really do me any harm to be honest, but I did end up not being the most submissive of daughters and regularly anguished over the injustice of something or other my parents had said or done.
When I try to imagine what I was feeling then, it's nearly impossible, so much calmer and more peaceful is my internal state, but at the time (and this extended well in to my twenties, with an eating disorder to prove it) I spent a huge amount of time and energy fighting.
I fought with everyone, but mostly passive-aggressively, and always with myself. I believed that everyone judged me. I believed they thought I wasn't trying hard enough, I wasn't successful enough or out-going enough, and I built an effective wall of nonchalance and superiority in order to pretend I wasn't worried what anyone else thought at all.
On the outside I looked like I had it all together because I never really let anyone see me. I didn't really have any idea who I was anyway, so I didn't know any different, and neither did they. Life went on.
There were moments of clarity and a long journey of healing and self-discovery after my eating disorder was diagnosed and treated with therapy and a brief stint of anti-depressants, but there was one moment in particular which created a crystalline view of how the world should be, and where I'd gone wrong all these years.
That moment came whilst sitting in my parent's garden one summer, reading A Course In Miracles, the metaphysical text on connecting to your Higher Power / God / Higher Consciousness / Universe / Whatever.
Don't ask me how I came across that book. I know I bought it online, but I have no idea how or why, and I still haven't managed to complete it, but I didn't need to at that time, I only needed to read one sentence:
"In my defencelessness my safety lies." (Lesson 153 of A Course In Miracles)
All these years, I had been fighting with myself and everyone else because it seemed the only option. I constantly felt attacked, even when there was only love being directed my way. I'd attacked my family, friends, job and my body and felt worse, not better for it. This sentence was the key to something radically different.
I'll be honest, I had a really defensive response to that sentence at first. I told myself it was stupid. How ridiculous! Of course you need to defend yourself. If you didn't defend yourself you wouldn't be safe, you've be broken down and belittled and judged and hated and...and...and...
The more I argued the more I realised I was arguing with myself. I was arguing against something which actually made perfect sense, because it's pretty hard to argue with yourself or anyone else when there's no argument coming back. You could just keep shouting insults louder and louder at nothing, but it's likely you'd be classed as insane, or at least disturbed.
Theoretically understanding something and actually understanding something enough to put it into action, emotionally understanding it, are two fundamentally different things. I'd taken a huge leap in seeing the light, but I had no idea how NOT to react to the seemingly constant attacks I was receiving, so I did what every self-respecting spiritual / happiness seeker does, I started meditating. I had also learned mindfulness techniques and put these into practice in my daily interactions with people and also during the conversations I had with myself.
It was easier to be kinder to others than it was to be kind to myself initially. I started being able to step away from the interaction and see the energy that was being exchanged and consequently was able to start pausing before my defences kicked in and responding from a place of love instead.
I kid you not, miracles started happening. I started to love myself more, my body fell into a natural rhythm, my relationship with my parents healed and I began my training as a psychotherapist, eventually to quit my corporate job and follow my true calling as a Fearless Feeling Coach, teaching women to redefine selfishness for themselves by giving them permission to feel.
In one moment, my life changed, and by focusing on each following moment, where my mind was and responding from a place of love instead of fear, my whole future changed. Oh how I wish I'd known it sooner!