Editing the film of our lives
Who am I really? What a powerful question. Posing an inquiry like this is the sign of a seeker, someone who looks for deeper truths under the surface of what is visible. Seekers lean toward introspection and wonder. Always curious about the nature of things and asking why is a preference and a practice.
Human beings are hard wired for a story. When something happens we assign a narrative to it. Our brain rewards us for the response. It’s all very normal. We like the stories because they make us feel as though we have control. We are on top of it. This practice leaves very little to uncertainty. When something happens in life and we don’t have the answer for why this came about we become uncomfortable and feel vulnerable.
Beyond these daily stories we have an identifying story. A tale of who we are. With inquires about who we are we respond with a list of details including occupation, family role, age or possibly even religious/spiritual affiliation. These replies are mostly general labels. We also have a significant attachment to the story of our childhood. We came into this world as a new character in a play already on stage. This play had a plot and character history that was engrained in us very early. We were shown how to respond to the world around us and who we are in that world. The ways in which the cast behaved toward us began to form an internal understanding of who we were. Year after the year the character developed never questioning the role or the cast. It was just the way it was and now just the way it is.
Taking time in reflection to loosen the attachments to your story can be extremely freeing, especially if that story is a drama. Most of us have at the very least one difficult memory or experience for which we created a story that does not serve in our best interest. A story that makes us the villain, victim or even a constant supporting actor when really you need to be the main character is worth looking at. Be the observer and take a look at a part of your life that keeps coming up for you. Sit in the directors’ chair and watch from a distance. See what insights arise.
Bridgette DeBoer M.A., is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, marriage and family therapist. She can be reached at 450-6632.