The third definition of epiphany in the online dictionary I consulted is:
"a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience."
Yeah, dat. I had one yesterday, and I thought I'd share.
First, I've had a just a few true epiphanies in my life. The first time, I'd screwed up pretty well, embarrassing myself and people I cared about. You don't need details (I know you want them, but tough, this isn't True Confessions), yet it definitely was a humbling experience, which I pretty damn well needed.
The second real epiphany came during my first marriage, and it was two-fold. My beloved grandmother had died, and my grandfather was mourning his wife of 55 years. I realized that my then-husband, who had no respect and probably no love for me either, wouldn't mourn if I died. He would be relieved. That opened my eyes enough to start to stand up to his belittling with what to me became a magic mantra..."You saying it doesn't make it so."
Do you see the sheer power of that? After years of being told how worthless I was, I finally rejected being so reduced by his words by the infinite power of my will. Just because this man said it, didn't make it true. The strength of that finally got me out of a lousy marriage that had me continually walking on eggshells.
The next epiphany came when I was dating the DH. Not too surprisingly, I was a pretty defensive person. I've always been an infighter, and that's okay. But it's not okay to assume everyone is out to hurt me, and to build very high walls based on that. Finally, one day after I had jumped in his stuff for imagining he was insulting me, the then BF said he couldn't be with someone so negative. That he never wanted to hurt me, never intended to hurt me or anyone, for that matter, and my always responding to everything the wrong way was painful to him. I knew if I couldn't overcome this sad character flaw, a vestige of the abusive men in my life, I would lose the best thing that ever happened to me. Well, he's the DH, so you know how that ends. :-)
Which brings me to yesterday's epiphany. I was working on sorting out three separate orders from the lab that had come in at once, and was confusing myself. We had a LOT of orders to process last week...thanks St. Veronica! (No, I'm not Catholic, but she's the patron saint of photographers, and I'll take whatever help I can get)... so it was easy to get turned around on what was still out and what had come in.
I found myself saying out loud what that heinous little voice in my head was saying..."Oh, for pity sake, Diana, grow a brain!" or something like that. And the saying it out loud stopped me dead in my tracks.
We all have that little voice. Along with the music always going through my head, there's a running commentary. Sometimes it has my mother's voice, the voice that never yells but tells me I've disappointed it. Mom was great at the skillful manipulation of emotions. Sometimes it's the ex...usually when I've made the serious error of looking at my nude self in the mirror...telling me how fat and sloppy I am. Occasionally, it's a more cheerful voice, which is usually the DH. But most often, it's my own voice. And I scold me. Shamefully, terribly, unendingly. Apparently, very little I do is good enough for me.
So the epiphany? I realized that if another family member, or a friend, had the temerity to speak to me like that, I'd rip off their lips and make them kiss their own ass! So why in the name of all that's holy do I allow ME to do it to myself? I know better. I do. I know garbage in, garbage out. I've listened to the Power of Positive Thinking and found much of the logic in it to be sound. I know I feel better when I think good thoughts. So why am I denigrating myself from within?
The first step in the changes I've spoken of, you, my gentle, intelligent readers (both of you), will have noticed is the insight part of the definition of epiphany. Once we can see, we can change. So, my little voice, you are now on notice. I'm listening with the front part of my mind, and I'm on to you. I will not let you talk to me in a way I wouldn't permit from anyone else. I will change.
One day at a time.