She was a princess and duchess. She lived in the palace with the Queen of England. She had her prince. She had a fairytale life.
Sarah Margaret Ferguson seemed to have it all. But she lost it and for the past 15 years she’s known more for scandal than being royal – topless photos, a divorce from her prince, ballooning and shrinking weight, amassing large amounts of debt, and trying to sell access to her former husband, Prince Andrew.
How could that happen? How could someone squander away their royalty, be so gullible, lost and seemingly crazy? It doesn’t make sense.
Because we didn’t have the whole story. Sarah’s life didn’t begin in the woods with singing birds and the perfect family, like Disney would have us believe princesses do. She was born a commoner, not royal. Her mother abandoned her for an Argentine polo player. So, she took solace in her horses. However, after her mother left, her father sold her most beloved horses and then she had no one. She grew up feeling unloved, unwanted and not belonging. She then married into a family that perpetuated those feelings on a grand scale.
Now at 51, in OWN‘s new reality show, Finding Sarah, she is stopping to really answer core questions like, who am I? It has been a hard look at bad habits, wrong thought patterns, and ignored emotional baggage from her childhood. She has lived in constant chaos, drama and self-sabotage because of these things. Her worst life choices are born because she doesn’t know her own worth, even though she had the formal title of Duchess. The show is an interesting portrait of a life undiscovered in spite of all opportunity. I am learning a lot.
This last week one of the coaches on Sarah’s journey took her to participate in equine therapy. I have heard of art therapy and using horses for the disabled but not for emotional work. Sarah’s horse has a trusting issue. In order for him to respond to Sarah she has to find her center and operate from her own truth, otherwise he would run from her. It sounds crazy but I saw it. He could read her energy. If she entered the corral with fear and distrust that would repel him. Instead she had to start from a place of truth and trust, then he would follow her. Then she was in control of the situation.
The real test came when they introduced the horse’s biggest fear, plastic bags. At the sight and sound of a rustling plastic bag he would run, neigh and whinny in terror. However, the beauty of horses is that his trainer through their own strength of character can extend a new perspective to the horse and he will “forget” his fear. He is then able to see his fear from his trainer’s perspective.
When Sarah approached him in peace, calmly and from her true center he could read that and endure the presence of the plastic bag. The longer she stayed in that place the more he “overcame” his fear. The key was her not being drawn into his drama. She did not enter into his drama. Sarah is no afraid of plastic bags, so she could teach him not to be. When she was true to herself he could sense that and be changed by it. He learned to see the plastic bag as she did, a non-threat.
A light bulb went off in my head. What is the truth about who I am? When I operate from that place in my life then I can draw appropriate boundaries. Then I am not drawn into the chaos and drama around me. The principle seems so simple. But how often are we sucked into everything going on around us, then it affects our mood, our day, our actions and sometimes it’s so big it alters our lives. How can we not let this affect us to the point of stress or destruction? Our lives can be dictated by everything happening around us instead of what we know to be true.
We have to know who we are? We have to radiate from our integrity and truth. I know that I am loved, because God loves me. He gives me an identity that provides the framework for my life. This love, as I allow it, begins to override the negative things spoken over me.
Dr Phil told Sarah that we are born blank slates and the first people to write on those slates is our parents. If they did not “write” affirming, encouraging, life building things on that slate creating a healthy, solid sense of self then we believe we’re worthless, unloved, and unwanted, etc (Fill in the blank of the negative things said about you.) However, he said the real crime is when we, as adults, rewrite those same things about ourselves. It cements those things in our hearts, minds and souls. It is then that we become those things because they have been internalized. We have decided that we ARE those awful things.
What lies do you believe? I had to stop and ask myself that question. What untruths from my childhood do I still hold onto and how is it affecting me today. Do I self-sabotage? I think I do. Sometimes I’m even afraid to try. I wonder if I’m more afraid of success than failure because failure feels certain. So if I believe I’m a failure then I will be. This becomes the blueprint of my life. If I believe I’m unloveable then I will project that and engage with people who treat me that way.
But if I allow the fullness of the love of God to be real to me, how does that change who I am? How does he see me? I am his beloved. He chose me. He loves me. He died for me. He created me in his image. He was the first one to write on my slate, he wrote “mine.” He wrote “daughter, princess, beautiful, and wanted.” These are the building blocks of my identity, not the things spoken over me by others. He defines who I am. He determines my worth. And he has said I am worth it all. He comes to find me when I am lost. He wants to spend time with me. He loves me more than I can ever comprehend.
He is my center. When I see the world from his perspective I am unafraid. He exposes the lies. He removes all fear. I am safe because of his love. Now I am ready to move out into life.
What happens when you sit still and listen for the voice of God to whisper how he sees you. Can you hear past the “tapes” of your parents, teachers, spouse and family? His is the still, small, voice waiting to come to the forefront. He is waiting for your attention to help you rewrite your identity.
It is hard work to get past the junk. But imagine what can happen as the transforming journey begins. It’s beyond accomplishments. It’s not about performance. It is about the quiet confidence and assurance that comes when you know you are loved. When we can move from a place of love we will change and then change the world. When I live in the quiet whispers I don’t fear, I don’t worry, I don’t stress. I can quietly breathe in the sweet, calming peaceful presence of love. It’s worth it.