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Lifescripts June 9, 2010

Posted by orualundone in Faith Journey, Lies, Lifescripts, Struggles.
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I was recently re-reading one of my favorite books (from which this blog gets much of its inspiration), “Till We Have Faces” by the incomparable C.S. Lewis. The book is a retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche,  told from the point of view of Orual, the ugly older sister. It is written out as her complaint against the gods (particular the mountain-god, to whom Psyche was wed), blaming them for Psyche’s destruction and for stealing her love away, as well as for various other troubles that had befallen Orual.

When she finally is able to go to the gods and directly make her case she finds herself reciting a script of bitterness, hatred, and possessiveness instead. She realizes that she had been telling herself these things in her heart over and over again for years without fully realizing it. Terrible things, like that it would have been better for Psyche to be dead than to love the mountain-god, that no one had truly ever loved Orual, that the gods were unfair and to be hated and that they had destroyed all her hope for happiness. When she is confronted with this truth about the life script she has been living, in contrast with the terrible beauty and love of the gods, she comes completely undone.

Part of the reason I chose Orual’s name as my blog name and handle is because I identify strongly with several things about her. Partially because I have a tendency to love in a jealous and possessive way. And because I, like most people have a lifescript that I find myself repeating as things occur in my life. Patterns of hurt or failure reinforce these views and I find myself thinking the same destructive thoughts over and over again. Selfish, bitter, and self-loathing thoughts that if I let them could easily leave me as wasted and shriveled in my soul as our protagonist.

I tell myself things like that the people I love will never love me as much as I love them, that I will never be as important to them as they are to me, that I will never be the best friend but always just a fallback. That no one thinks about me when I am not around. That I am unnoticed. That people never think I need help because I appear so competent most of the time. That all my other friends have more issues and get more attention than me and that I am the one who always has to suck it up and make a sacrifice or let someone else have something.

These are ugly words, full of self-pity and pride. I know they are not true. I have wonderful, amazing, loving friends and family. I know I am valued, even often favored. And yet when something bad happens, when I feel slighted by something or ignored by someone, when there’s a crisis and I don’t get the attention I think I should, I fall back on them. Not consciously, but I can feel them running just under the surface, building resentment and bad feelings about people who truly care about me, driving me to towards isolation and even deeper delusions of ill-treatment.

We all have these scripts. They often come from things that were done or said to us when we were very young, and reinforced just enough by other incidents that they gain momentum. They can end up ruining our lives if we don’t derail them in time. When we realize we are telling ourselves these kinds of terrible things, we have to stop at once. Take it to God in prayer, right then, and ask Him to show us the truth and to change our mindsets. As with Orual in the story, the only thing that can silence and redeem these destructive impulses is God Himself. Only He can replace the lies we will tell ourselves with truth. Everything else falls short.