More than you realize
We tend to lean heavily toward identifying with who we think we are. Our name, demographics and the experiences we’ve had. While these do help shape who we are they are not the totality. We have all experienced pain, disappointment and loss of some sort. These can be labeled as pivotal times in our lives and if you look back into those events you will most likely find the birth of a belief, more often than not followed by behavior changes.
The hurt we’ve experienced in the past can easily send a false message about who we are. Each time chipping away the very foundation of our identity. Culture feeds this delusion with the notion, good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. There may be some example of this fitting a small sample of situations, however this idea is limiting and binary at the least. Children are mistreated and it’s not because they are bad. The sad truth is, this is what they grow up believing because children are egocentric and introject what is said to them. They have no other rationalization skills to understand the very people mistreating them are the ones with the hurts to be healed.
Instead those masks are passed down to the innocent stripping away at the vulnerability and safety children so desperately need to explore who they are in this world.
Understanding we are more than the way we have been treated can support healing by separating the past from the present. Many times we take the old hurts and create a self-fulfilling prophecy becoming who we have been told we are rather than who we truly are.
The work becomes looking at your beliefs about yourself and recognizing if they are yours or someone else’s. Let go of what doesn’t belong to you and embrace courage to step into the possibilities of who your soul knows you are.
Bridgette DeBoer M.A., is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, marriage and family therapist. She can be reached at 450-6632.