Saving myself

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” ~Buddha

I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, this just sucks. I was raised on the story that someone else was going to save me. I got that story from my childhood religion that said that only Jesus can save us because we are too degenerate to do anything to save ourselves. I got it from the fairy tales where the heroine is always waiting for her prince to arrive to rescue her. I got it from the general cultural milieu in which I lived that said that a woman needed a man to save her because she was the “weaker sex.”

So I did as I was told. I waited for someone else to save me.

I tried Jesus, but I never could quite earn the promised salvation because I never could quite believe in the right way. (As an aside, in my opinion, requiring perfect belief before someone can be saved is just as much a works-based religion as any outward performance measure could ever be. And in many ways, it is much more insidiously destructive.)

I tried finding the right man who could save me, but that just never quite worked out. Either I was not obedient enough, or I was too boring, or too short, or too young, or not pretty enough, or didn’t make enough money … and this list goes on. I was always either too much of something or not enough of something else. (And sometimes both.)

I’ve tried religion. I’ve tried different jobs. I’ve tried therapy (of several kinds). I’ve even tried antidepressants.

None of them saved me. None of them rescued me—from myself, from pain, from the messiness of life, or even from the intolerable loneliness I talked about yesterday. None of them healed all the wounds or fixed all the broken spots.

So against all of my conditioning and with great disappointment, I think it’s time to stop waiting for a savior. It’s time to listen to Buddha and walk my own journey myself. I don’t think this means that I can’t accept help or company along the way. Nor does it mean that I may not find tools, techniques, or Spirit support that will make the journey easier. It does mean that I stop looking outside of myself for the answers. It means that I stop abdicating my own responsibility for my life to others. It means that I stop looking to others to rescue me.

I’m done waiting on the edge of the path for my knight in shining armor to appear. I’m tying on my hiking boots and walking the path myself from now on. I bet I’ll move toward healing a whole lot faster this way. I wish I’d done this years ago!