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written by Deborah Lowrey

A couple of years ago, I received a letter from my dear friend Jonathan. Jonathan has been blessed with a talent for writing. He can write and, in a very simple short sentence, can bring to life a huge revelation. Well, in this letter to me, he did just that.

In essence, he described that we all have 'pegs'. Pegs are those things that make us who we are. Our experiences, lessons learned, our actual character made from many sources throughout our lives. They are those things that make us, us.

For all of us, there are events, things and people that bring us to a decision that things need to change in our life, to change those pegs. But for a lot of people, instead of changing the pegs, they put things ON those pegs. To cover, or as I would say, mask the pegs. These 'masks' can be ways to camouflage or hide our 'defects' (as we may see them), to be like other people because we seek acceptance or to feel that we 'fit in', or to avoid what we think will be hard work to change our pegs (who we really are). Change can be scary.

But many times (and just look around you), there are people who rearrange those things on their pegs or add things onto their pegs, then stand back and say 'Look, I just changed my life'. But the truth is, the only real change is changing the pegs. No amount of rearranging or adding of an illusion will ever bring about life transforming change.

I digress. I was flipping through the channels on cable one night. And I got interested in a story that was being done about Cindy Jackson. For those of you who don't know who Cindy Jackson is, she is a woman in England that has gone through about 30 plastic surguries so that she can look like a real life Barbie ® doll. And with the pictures I saw, she has quite successfully done this.

This program was talking about her life as she was growing up and her dissatisfaction in her looks, and her low self-esteem of feeling as though she was from the wrong side of the tracks and much more. She felt not wanted and not cared about from her classmates and others and felt that she was homely. I saw her 'before' pictures and I didn't feel that she was homely, but this was how Cindy felt about Cindy.

Cindy successfully has undergone many plastic surguries and has gained success in what many would consider groups of influence, the rich and famous and such. She is usually recognized where she goes in England. Many would feel that Cindy has hit the 'big time'.

But what I found most interesting was Cindy talking about attending her upcoming class reunion. She said that she expected that she would be respected, that others would recognize that she was no longer the homely girl from the wrong side of the tracks. She was now beautiful and people would treat her well. She talked about how much she had changed.

The program then had a post reunion interview with Cindy. She stated that she could not understand why when she went to the reunion, she walked in the room, she still felt like the homely girl from the other side of the tracks. And every one treated her the same as though she were still the homely girl from the wrong side of the tracks. She could not understand why. She still felt like nothing had changed. She protested this and really could not understand it.

And instantaneously I cried out and said, "Because you didn't change the pegs!" Cindy had successfully changed the things ON her pegs. She changed her mask. She changed the outside, her 'looks'. But Cindy did not change Cindy. Nor did she address how Cindy felt about Cindy. And all the plastic surgery in the world can never change who we are in our hearts, how we think, how we react, who we are.

Many self-help books fall short in this area as well. They will address the outcome and say how to rearrange things or add things to bring about this outcome, but few ever address how to change your pegs. That must bring great frustration to those that truly want to change their lives and obtain personal freedom, love and transformative change in their life. I know that I experienced this frustration for most of my life. I truly wanted to change and make things better for myself. I tried and failed. Tried some more and failed some more.

I realized after quite a bit of my life had gone by, that I did not have the tools to change my life. And I found myself posing the question... Where do you find the tools to change your life? I knew I didn't have them. All I had was the thirst, an unquenchable thirst, to find them.

I had hit rock bottom with nowhere left to go and for me it was an all or nothing thing. I either end my life, here and now, or I set out to find my 'tools'. And I didn't even know if they even really existed. It was like standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon. You look down and can't see the bottom. You look across and can't see the other side. You look back and the past is catching up with you so as to imprison you in a personal hell for all of eternity.

To this day, I'm not sure why I jumped, but jump I did. I made a leap that I couldn't see if I was even going to land. I took a risk. And it was the greatest and best risk and leap that I could have ever done. In a brief moment, I changed every thing there was about my life.

For the first time in my life, I heard my OWN voice. I can't begin to describe how it echoed THROUGH me, how loud it was. But it has impacted me in every facet of my life. Then and still now. At that point, all I wanted was to be able to look at myself in the mirror and be able to accept me (and not in any big or important way, just be ok with me). I didn't care what price there was to pay. I figured it would be a lot of work, sweat, tears and pain, but for one day, JUST ONE DAY, it would be worth it and far better than any day I had had up till then. Little did I know how much more than one day it would change!

And for those of you wondering what I had heard in my own voice... "I can't live another day with this pain. NOT ONE MORE DAY!!!" And I hear that "not one more day" from myself every time I am making a change, a leap, or have a cross-roads in my life. I have a determination.

I had disappointed myself so many times in the past, and had been disappointed and betrayed by others so much, that I made a commitment to myself that I would not betray myself, not let myself down. And of course, I am still human. There are times I let me down. But I don't kick myself continually for it. I pick up, I apologize to myself. YES, I apologize to myself. Try it some time. It is very freeing. I learn from it so that I will not do it again. And I always tell myself 'I love you Deborah'. And I know that I really mean it. And that is what the pegs are really about.

To change the pegs, you must first learn about yourself, accept yourself, and REALLY love yourself. I hear too much people saying 'but I do love myself'. But look at their actions. See how they treat themselves. Listen to how they think. Eighty percent of all people really don't love themselves according to statistics and the law of averages. Many people repeat something that they think they should be doing. Some hoping that with it said it will somehow come into being. Others because they think that's what's expected. And for some it's just empty words that really have no meaning, just a little nice ditty to say. But how many of us really change our pegs? Think on this... How many Cindy Jackson's are in the world? Ask yourself... Is there a Cindy Jackson within me?

Plato or Socrates once said, "The unexamined life is not worth living*". Regardless, of who said it, it still stands the test of time.

Jonathan, in a very simple short sentence, can bring to life a huge revelation. Well, he did just that, once again. "A shouted lie fades, while a whispered truth echoes forever*".

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