A Gratitude Letter for Marissa Peers, the Person Who Changed my Life.

Written by Nilanjana Haldar

Dear Marissa Peers,

This is a blog I have written to express my gratitude towards you. I hope it reaches you.

I wanted to tell you that the immensity of gratitude I feel for you is too meagre to be expressed in plain words. No matter how perfect a word I use to express my gratitude, it just doesn’t seem enough to describe how much gratitude I feel everyday having learnt the things you taught me.

I don’t think I would’ve ever figured out the truth of who it is I am without you. I don’t really know where I would have been had I not met a person like you (through your courses).

To help you understand what kind of life I hailed from before I came to know about you, here is a summary-> 

MY PERSONAL LIFE STORY  ( before I took your RTT Hypnotherapy)

I am from a very small city—Siliguri—in India (it is very close to Bhutan)

Since I was a child, 

All I ever saw was either my mother being abused by father. She was frequently slapped by father, publicly humiliated by father, she was berated for little errors in chores, she was ridiculed by him often in front of guests and relatives and people who came home, she always had to take permission from him before doing something (which was often not granted), she was emotionally abused so so frequently in my childhood years that sometimes I feel that it all I can remember from childhood. I recall when I first did your hypnotherapy demo session in Mindvalley (this was before I bought your course), I was amazed at how my mind leaped into these scenes from my childhood, as the time when I first began acquiring all these lengths of limiting beliefs inside my mind. 

— Also, my mother has also been abused by her my sister-in-law for little UNINTENTIONAL errors.

Also, watching my brother hurting was just as painful a thing for me:

-He was beaten as a child! I recall a curtain rod dad used to hit him extremely hard one night because he had created nuisance. Dad had beaten him! I can never forget the look on his face. He looked like he didn’t deserve love ever! Next morning there was a very big bruise on his thigh. He was beaten often. It crushed me and the memory hurts me to this day.

—my parents favouring me over my brother (because I was considered as the ‘pride of the family (THE ONE WHO GOT HOME ALL THE GRADES]….. something that hurt me since I loved brother,

-He was forced by my parents to pursue medicine when he really wanted to pursue aeronautical engineering. I recall he had once put up a Facebook and Whattsap message expressing himself, (around the time careers were being selected) stating, “Death is not the greatest tragedy in life, instead, the greatest tragedy is what dies in us while we are still alive.” It hurt me a lot to see this!

-He attracted to himself a marriage loaded with abuse— 

I recall a time when his wife abused him for UNINTENTIONAL mistakes he may have committed. Not only that, she tried dolling out divorce threats to brother when I knew how deeply he cared for her (he is someone ready to look past her imperfections and love her for who she is)

With my mind carrying no concept of self-esteem (and carrying all the pain that had been inflicted on mother and brother), I went ahead into school, college, graduation, post-graduation years never understanding how these limiting beliefs were infiltrating my adult years. Here are some of the examples:

  1. I attracted abusive (narcissistic) friends after narcissistic friends, over and over again. They were the only ones I latched myself to, I never felt worthy of having people who appreciated me for who it is I really am. 
  2. I have always been addicted to over-achieving and perfectionism. I didn’t know these behaviours stemmed from a mind that was contaminated with no self-esteem. 
  3. I had depression-of-unknown-origin often and I didn’t know why. I would wake up early morning and feel depressed for no reason. 
  4. I was bullied in my post-graduation college years. And it was serious bullying, like I was called things like:

“ Nilanjana is the worst candidate till date”

“Nilanjana is lower than anybody in the entire batch of students. She will never make it.”

“This girl doesn’t deserve to be here.”

“This girl needs to fail (I recall this was told to me many many times)”

I recall resorting to eating disorders (I was anorexic), pornography, bad friendships (people who only criticised others), I was enormously needy for a lover (but fearful too that the lover would become abusive like my father), I attracted either needy guys or playboys to my life…. I didn’t know how just how to ever become normal again. Nay! I didn’t even know I didn’t have any concept of self-esteem. 

And all of this bullying happened even when I was absolutely innocent, and only had a different (slower) pace of learning things and happened to be different from everybody. I noticed that my codependent people-pleasing, over-apologising tendencies added to the reasons for which I was bullied. And the bullying didn’t last a month or a year, it lasted for a full 3 years. And they came from all the different strata—my colleagues, my seniors, and my professors. So many nights I sat awake just to sit and cry, because I couldn’t tell anybody about what I was going through (with dad abusing my mother at home, if I told them anything about my pain that would add to their existing pain, my brother was never the kind who offered a listening ear, being so much in pain himself)…. I recall a time when my mother called me while I was tremendously bullied at work and the workload was just too immense to handle (with all the limiting beliefs up my mind). She said she wanted to commit suicide by injecting potassium into her veins, because of the way father was treating her. I must tell you that I was staying miles away from home back then. I couldn’t even come to her rescue. So, I simply sat there crying in my room and praying to God. It seemed like I would never make it out of my pain. With a mind of zero self-esteem, carrying my mother’s pain of many years, with an added input of her latest abuse story and her suicidal attempts, with the burden of workplace bullying I never knew how to handle, with a medical worklife so overbearing as one with work hours starting at 7:30 in the morning and continuing upto 10 at night, with additional studies after work hours, and presentations and thesis work……. With all of this, I was left with absolutely no clue as to what I was supposed to do. I was frozen, numb, dead inside. I did try committing suicide once in the middle of my graduation years. And I would have done it, just that I got lucky because someone stopped me.

I recall one time when I was abused by my sister-in-law because I had stepped out to buy gifts for her and brother and I had returned home late and it didn’t fit her definition of a ‘responsible person’….and because this painful attitude had crushed me so deep that I had told my parents about it (just to seek consolation, I was very dependent on them because I was raised in a highly overprotective environment where everything was always done for me), crying all the time, to which my father had called her up and told her things THAT ABSOLUTELY NEEDN’T HAVE BEEN SAID (That wasn’t even my intention for speaking to my family), following which she (my sister-in-law) had threatened to slap me, demeaned the person I was, yelled at me, expressed all her anger to me with such horrifying magnitude, that it broke my heart, crushed my spirit, made me feel worthless, and unwanted. I recalled she had stated things like “You hurt your parents today”/ “Your brother and I don’t need people like you, we will find better people”/ saying things like “You don’t deserve love”. And I never had any concept of “I AM ENOUGH” back then and I simply deemed my personal life achievements as a measure of my worth. With a mind like that, I had soaked in everything she had said and had run into depression for at least 6-7 months, beating myself up, judging myself. I recall that when my sister-in-law abused me in her hotel room, brother sat next to her and he simply observed all the hurt being inflicted on me and he stayed absolutely silent. I recall feeling genuinely unworthy when my own brother could stand the idea of me being abused right in front of his eyes.

-I was molested by a playboy in college years since I had no concept of what it is I truly deserved, and that feeling of shame I carried with me for 6-7 months, beating myself up, hurting myself.

-My mom taunts me to this day stating anything and everything that crosses her mind:

I have been labelled as

 “disobedient daughter”

“ Someone who shouldn’t have been born”

I recall mom say recently, “ I must’ve committed something bad in my past life to have given birth to someone like you.”

“I am unwanted.”

“ I have brought a bad mark to the family name.”

“I have brought ill-luck to the family.”

“I don’t deserve to be a member of this family.”

“I am not someone who deserves love.”

“I wish I never had a child like you.”

“You are the worst daughter in this planet. I don’t want to have anything to do with you.” (This was said by father) 

Most of my parents hurtful words were stated whenever I started standing my own ground and disallowing them from making my decisions. They couldn’t stand it, they couldn’t stand the idea of me becoming a mature, decisive person slowly and steadily.

—I was forced to get married over and over again and when I didn’t do so my parents labeled me as a “bad girl”, “ a disobedient girl”,

I recall what my mother said to me about marriage: 

“You can only marry a Bengali doctor, nobody else”

“You have to marry fast before the age of 30, otherwise how will you have kids”

I recall what my dad told me about marriage, 

“You will repent if you don’t get married”

—I recall father forcing me to get married to a suitor he had brought home once. The entire planning had been done by him without even bothering to ask me about it.

-Brother misjudged me when I had told him that he deserved someone better in his love life, when my intentions for saying so were to help him understand he deserved a better wife and better person, someone who cherished him for his imperfect self. Instead brother decided to condemn me stating that I was not fit to be a member of the family (These were his exact words!)

———————————————————********———————————————————

In July, 2018, I had shifted to Delhi for a sabbatical (after enduring tremendous resistance from home) and for pursuing figure skating which was available there. I took this time to study my life, to understand why I was in so much pain, why nothing worked for me. Because all these reflections about the pain in my life I was able to make in retrospect. At that time, I simply knew I was in pain, I was a mess. I did not know then that I had considered all these limiting beliefs as my identity.

Several months went by, my sabbatical was coming to an end, and I still hadn’t found an answer!

In this desperation for an answer, I happened to come by your course in an Youtube ad of Mindvalley, and I clicked it and went over the webpage and the demo-video. I recalled doing my first hypnotherapy with you in that demo version and that is an experience I will never forget, I had tears welling out of my eyes, because you had me revisit what I felt as a child, inside my mother’s womb, filled with the abundance of delight and wonder.  After that I took your course and that is where I, for the first time, was introduced to the concept of “I AM ENOUGH”. I recall not understanding it at first. This was because all my life I had been conditioned to believe I was enough only if I had big grades, or if I did something that society would appreciate——I had absolutely NO CONCEPT of ‘I am enough’, or the power of ‘I AM’. I followed every single advice you gave us with regard to posting I AM ENOUGH all over the house, changing my password to “I AM LOVEABLE” (all my passwords are changed to them, by the way). I followed everything you said (and I do it to this day). I will admit it took me a long while to overcome my pain—I used your technique for an entire year and a half, to genuinely feel like my mind was being rewired. But the beauty of the message ‘I AM ENOUGH’ I discovered in a new, profound way, the more I stated it and let it sink in, particularly when I follow your meditations. My mind really was resistant to all this change, initially, for multiple reasons:

1)There was massive ongoing abuse at home 

(With my I AM ENOUGHness I halted several moments of abuse inflicted by father at home. It was very difficult at first but I kept chanting I AM ENOUGH, I WILL DEFEND MOM. He seems to be avoid abusing now, its a lot lot less than before.

2)I was making decisions about switching a different career since I had found my passion (novel writing and motivational speaking). This is extremely challenging for an Indian girl, hailing from a highly overprotective family. I was treated extremely rudely for making a choice with my life since my parents felt their well-invested money was a waste or that I wasn’t fulfilling what they wanted of me, or that I was an ‘irresponsible daughter making her own choices in life’.

However, I never gave up. Having tasted the truth about me and my authentic self and my potential through the RTT course, I kept using ‘I AM ENOUGH’ in all sorts of ways, and I discovered it in a new way every time I said it and let it sink in. It is so beautiful what you teach!

I recall you say once, in one of your Youtube videos, “Say to yourself I AM ENOUGH and then you will notice that this part of you is always there. Say, “Oh! There you are, this enough part of me, which is always there!”” 

The more I understood the profundity of I AM ENOUGH, the more I learnt to stand up for myself, the more I learnt to create boundaries from people who didn’t treat me like I deserved (including from people at home, EVERYONE), the more I didn’t hesitate to walk away from people who disregarded me (even if in subtle ways).

The more I understood the profundity of I AM ENOUGH, the more I learnt to cast away all forms of external validation (people’s praises, seeking Facebook likes, seeking permission from others, achievement seeking, waiting for people’s approval).

The more I understood the profundity of I AM ENOUGH, the more I have been focusing on building a new career, the more disciplined I have become, the more I value my time both for my new ventures as well as for relaxation. 

The more I understood the profundity of I AM ENOUGH, the more I give people their space in friendships.

The more I understood the profundity of I AM ENOUGH, the more assertive I became.

The more I understood the profundity of I AM ENOUGH, the more I learnt to say No whenever I wanted to. 

The more I understood the profundity of I AM ENOUGH, the more I stayed undisturbed in the presence of criticism or passive aggression of any kind. 

The more I understood the profundity of I AM ENOUGH, the more I prioritised me, my truth and my child self over and above anybody else. 

The more I understood the profundity of I AM ENOUGH, the kinder and benevolent I became (previously I suffered from tremendous aggressive tendencies)

The more I understood the profundity of I AM ENOUGH, the more I learnt to refuse all these cultural pressures from my community of people (forcing me to get married, forcing me to do ‘duties” in family, pay respect to elders)

After an entire year and a half of applying RTT, I have realised that finally I have reached a point when my mind has started acting ABSOLUTELY DIFFERENTLY. All those dead malwiring have been replaced with this I AM ENOUGHness. 

And my gratitude doesn’t simply extend to the “I AM ENOUGH” part of your therapy, it extends to every other thing you have taught me especially the part about not carrying GUILT. I recall recalling your words whenever the guilts of my past came through—I played out your words in my head as if I was hearing them of a dear friend, it was so beautiful! 

Marissa, I don’t know how to thank you and if you compare what I had in the past with what I have now, you will realize probably 10% more of the total amount of gratitude I feel for you. I did not know I needed hypnotherapy, these things aren’t taught in India, in schools, colleges or anywhere here. Here, if one is born in an environment of violence, the cycle is supposed to repeat itself. Mental health is never given any importance over here (except in spiritual centres). But, I found you and I held onto RTT for dear life and I found something I never thought I would’ve found!!!

Thank you for appearing into my life! 

Lots of love,

Nilanjana Haldar 

(I will never forget your teachings Marissa! They will be with me till death and I will be doing you the honour of spreading your words, spreading them to children and others willing to listen, in this country and elsewhere. Take care!)