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Monthly Archives: January, 2010

On Overcoming Self-doubt: The Story Behind My Songs of Hope and Healing

Hi everyone. I believe there are many, many highly sensitive people (HSPs) out there that are gifted in so many areas but are suffering from self-doubt from their wounds from childhood and by being misunderstood in our society in general.  I want to tell you about how I came to be able to write songs and share them with you in the hopes that this will be helpful or inspire you in some way.  My being able to write songs is a story about overcoming self-doubt and finding and expressing my true self.  It was my songs that helped me uncover the truth of who I really am and what happened to me in my childhood.  The ability to write and sing these songs gave me a connection to something spiritual so that I learned to love myself and stop doubting the gifts and feelings that were within me.   Writing these songs turned me into a believer–and I now know I am loved and supported by the universe and I became more spiritual and drawn to reading more about what that means. 

I feel there is something in the words and melodies of most of my songs that came from something bigger than myself–I was just the channel.  I want to inspire, encourage and empower others who are in emotional pain and afraid to show who they really are.  I believe those highly sensitive souls are voices that are needed in our society and they are sensitive for a reason.  They have a connection to something bigger than themselves that they do not realize and don’t dare show to others because they don’t want to be hurt anymore–so they are hiding.  I understand this hiding.

The songs were an instrument in me telling my truth–and gaining the strength to stand up and assert my self and my true voice. These songs were instrumental in my gaining strength and energy and learning finally that there are people who we must avoid while we are healing and people of light and love that are safe to go towards. Being highly sensitive is a gift!  And I am grateful and honored to be one of those people.  I  feel blessed in this gift I have been given and I now have the positive energy to give to and love others only by loving my self first.  That is what these songs have done for me.  Here is my story:

In 2004 I started writing songs.  I had been writing  poems in a journal since I was 14.  At that time, I was told that things I wrote were crazy but I kept writing anyway because it made me feel better.  At that time I trusted others more than I trusted myself and so when I was criticized, ignored, and shamed for my singing too it broke my heart and I gave up on my dream to sing.  But I was compelled to sing and write anyway–in secret and in private. I dreamed of being a singer like Linda Rondstadt and sang in my bedroom to all of her albums.  I started learning the guitar at 17. (A boyfriend bought it for me–not my parents.)  I slowly started learning to play chords to my favorite songs. These were songs by Carole King, James Taylor, Carly Simon, and Linda Ronstadt. (Later on it was songs by Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow).  I sang in the choir in high school and college and got great praise but I didn’t believe it. My college voice teacher told me I had the best voice in the whole school of music.  But my fear felt too big to overcome so I refused to do any solos–I had stagefright and by graduation I gave up on my dream.

But about once a month something in me would make me sing and play the guitar.  I would sing and play my favorite songs for hours for only my self or sometimes for my husband and kids and then put it away for another month.  They liked my singing–but I was sure that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was in my heart.  I did that for many, many years.   Meanwhile,  I heard about a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  I  began writing 3 pages a day of free writing called Morning Pages to unblock creativity. (Ellen Degeneres has mentioned on her show that she also does this). Something started happening to me–I was finding out who I was and how I really felt about things.  More good writing and poetry started coming out of me–I was feeling more confident in myself and happier.

My children were having big successes in singing at school.  I had been careful not to push them in any direction but the ones of their own choosing.  To my surprise they both were drawn to singing in their own way.  My eldest became a soloist in high school and eventually a lead singer in a cover band in college.  My 2nd child was successful in acting and sang beautifully in solos in musical theatre productions at school.  They had no stagefright at all!  I was so proud of them and proud of myself for raising children with no stagefright!   I would often joke,” I can die now”,  but it made me realize how important singing was to me but I was still paralyzed in fear that my voice was not good enough for others to hear.  I knew this was irrational and started singing more often but there was still so much doubt in my mind.  It was exhausting to try and easier to just not try to sing for others.  I sang more often but still just kept it to myself.

When my eldest child went off to college and my husband started traveling more throughout the week I had more time to myself to recharge and suddenly one day I was inspired to put music to the poem I was writing in my journal.  I remember a melody came to me and it seemed as a gift from above to go with these words I was writing.  Not until after I was done writing it (long hand), with this melody in my head, did I pick up the guitar to try to play it and miraculously it fit perfectly with the few chords I knew well.  I recorded it on a tape recorder and, during a rare and brave moment, I dared to show it to my other child’s voice teacher who really liked it and said “you are a folk singer/songwriter” and also that he was jealous because he had a masters in music and couldn’t write any songs. This first song was entitled I’ll Believe and it felt like this song may have been a gift from above and that I had just been open to receive it and put it all together.  After that, songs just started pouring out of me and I always put the date on every song I write because it is important to me to acknowledge when it was given to me. 

Not only that, each song was prompted by an emotional state and a painful learning experience.  Sometimes I would feel a lot of shame after the song was complete because I dared to pour out my truth.  I soon realized that my best songs were the ones I felt the most shame about initially.  I knew this shame was not the truth. Then I would make myself listen to a tape of my recorded songs when I wasn’t feeling good about them or myself.  Every time I listened, I was surprised that I had written these songs and they changed my mood from feeling lost and numb to finding myself and finding my joy in life again for that day. It was a very healing experience as I saw myself getting more and more confident in expressing my “voice” in more ways than one.  I realized that because of the internalized shame from my childhood, I was beating myself up all the time and it was up to me to start believing in myself and to stop believing the inner critic inside my head.  It wasn’t true.  I was actually good.  How many other things I believed about myself also were not really true?   I was finding my voice as a person as well and speaking up for myself and standing up for myself in all areas of my life.

So it is the lyrics and the music that I feel helped me to find myself and I hope that they will be a source of hope and healing to you as well. Right now, I have written about 40 songs.  20 of them that I am releasing the lyrics to you I call my “Songs of Hope and Healing”.  And that is the inspiration for the name of this website.    Please let me know either by comment or by email if there are lyrics that speak to you.

15 to 20 % of us are Highly Sensitive People (HSPs).  We are a valuable and essential resource to our planet!  Overcoming self-doubt and finding our voice IS our true purpose in life.  Find the courage to trust that those gifts you were given are meant to be expressed and will be helpful to others by inspiring them to find their gifts as well. The desires deep in your heart are the path to finding your true purpose in life.  You can overcome your self-doubt! You are sensitive for a reason!

Thank you to my readers.  I have been getting emails and it’s great to know that I am reaching you and that what I am doing is helping.

With love, Roxanne

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Childhood Pain Comes Up to Heal When Things Are Going Well

Hi everyone.  The day after I started writing on this blog for the very first time you might be able to guess what happened–I woke up in the morning with the dreaded feeling of Guilt like a black cloud hanging over my head.  In the past I might have felt guilty and spiraled into negativity but thank goodness I knew what to do.  I observed this feeling instead of falling into it.  I was actually grateful for my new awareness of knowing and being able to label this feeling as Guilt.  (I used to just feel numb or a generalized anxiety in the morning–it was a familiar and comfortable state–it was how I survived as a child.)  I said to myself, okay this makes sense to feel this feeling today after the success of my first blog. This is Childhood Pain Coming Up to Heal Because Things Are Going Well.  This powerful phrase has helped my husband and I so many times.  I learned about this from John Gray–in one of the last chapters in his Venus and Mars book.  This was one tiny section which I feel was so important he could’ve written a whole book on it for the impact it made on my husband and I.

I realized I had internalized shame that showed up after I had successes that made me feel good about myself.  I believe ultimately as a small child that I believed “there is something wrong with me.  I am guilty–it is all my fault.”  To survive I had to repress all the anger and fear at having been blamed unfairly.  I was a highly sensitive child. I desperately needed love and approval.  So I settled for conditional love–I became an obedient and anxious shell of a person.

So I had expressed my true authentic self by writing my truth and my inner child was expecting to be punished and blamed and felt guilty.  What I have learned is that the strong part of me which now  knows the truth is able to comfort the wounded child in me that still feels fear and insecurity and blamed and guilty. See, as a child we make decisions and believe them so thoroughly it’s very hard to change the neural pathways in our brains that are so deeply set.  The negative thoughts are so automatic–that’s how we survived.  But we can change those pathways in our brains by becoming aware that the negative things we are saying to ourselves are from a wounded child’s perspective!  As highly sensitive people, we know how to nurture and love and comfort other people through their self-doubt and fear–so by taking that wounded child inside of you and comforting yourself you can change your inner child’s beliefs about yourself and the pathways of negative spiraling thoughts.  Realizing that I had to be the one to love myself and that noone was going to do it for me was a big revelation and turning point for me.  Learning to comfort myself with positive affirmations and taking it easy when these big overwhelming feelings come up is now something that comes much easier.

So do I still feel guilty about my speaking out and writing on this blog?  In a way the guilt is still there but it is small and completely manageable.  And the part of me that is strong, wise, and knows the truth is keeping it in check–telling the wounded child in me that it is going to be okay and I am doing the right thing by speaking my truth.  Do I have days when I still succumb to the child part in me and spiral negatively and beat myself up in despair?  No, not any longer but I used to and it was a gradual process to get me where I am now.  It used to happen mostly in the mornings and sometimes I couldn’t stop it right away.  But then, there usually came a time of awareness a short time later, on the same day, when I realized this was a brand new layer of unbearable pain from my childhood that came up to heal because things were going well.  My inner child felt safe enough to show it to me and say hey this really bad injustice happened to me and I needed to let it out finally. These are days when I put everything else aside–my list of things to do can wait until tomorrow.  I allow myself to grieve for the childhood I never had and deserved.  I comfort myself with my favorite things and am nice to myself  like I deserved to be treated as a child-legitimate needs that went unmet until now are being healed–by me.  I am a nurturing, supportive, comforting mom to myself.  I can do it!  And so can you.  Ultimately this process  is what a good empathic coach or inner child counselor is for.  They are someone you can trust with the pain of your inner child to help you figure out the truth of what really happened and help you grieve.  Then, when you can comfort yourself through the worst of the feelings that come up, then you know you no longer need the coach.  You can take care of and love yourself through anything!

Thank you for reading!  I hope my words have been helpful to you.

With Love,

Roxanne

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