Do you know in the depths of your soul who you are?
My childhood was difficult. I had a child as a teenager. I can say that even though I dove into life, I didn’t really know who I was. In that regard, I don’t think my experience is unusual – I think many of us aren’t sure of who we are.
Here’s the thing. There’s a “you” that is unchanging. It is that you that dwells as your spirit in this human incarnation.
The YOU that you are NOW is an ever-changing being.
Think about it. When you were a child, you had a certain personality. As you grew up, you likely have experienced changes in that personality. In fact, you may have determined that the personality of you as a child did not serve your best interest… so you developed new ways of being.
Let’s say you were selfish as a child. Perhaps somewhere along the way you became aware of how being selfish was not how you wanted to be. When you looked at your actions, you felt regret for acting in that way. After that realization, you began to take steps to change that part of you since it was not serving your best interest. It is likely that today you are generous and selfless because of your self-reflection and work to change your ways.
It is a fallacy to think that we have come into this world with a personality and that is just who we are. In fact, that personality of “you” is guided by the neurotransmitters of your brain. Neurotransmitters can be effected by environment, by medications, by experiences, by belief systems and perceptions. Truthfully, your personality is not something that is beyond your control.
YOU are the only person who can determine WHO YOU ARE.
So who do you want to be?
One of the reasons we change is because the world shows us aspects of ourselves that are uncomfortable for us to face. When a friend rejects us, co-workers find us hard to work with, social situations or family situation repeatedly turn sour, these are all situations that can spur change.
If we are smart, we evaluate these circumstances from a viewpoint of becoming more self-aware. Conversely, those things that bring us comfort and satisfaction cause us to move more toward repeating those behaviors. Thus, we progress and become better and better versions of ourselves.
I say “if we are smart” because not everyone does this. We live in a culture of blame. It is easy to allow yourself to become a victim of situation and blame others. In so doing, you do not have to change because nothing that is happening to you is your fault.
If, over and over, you find that you are having trouble with people in certain situations, you may begin to notice that there’s a pattern that develops in your life. Take advantage of these moments!
Do you have a story about your life? One that limits your satisfaction with life? These stories sound like, “I can’t keep close friends”, “people aren’t trustworthy”, “My bosses always hate me”, “Men can never just be my friend, they always try to turn it sexual”, and “Families just can’t be trusted.” There are many stories we tell ourselves.
These types of stories shine a light on a belief system that is limiting you.
Belief systems arise for good reasons. Bad stuff happens. When it does, our subconscious determines how to keep us safe from that happening again.
For instance, if your dad didn’t give you enough attention as a child, your subconscious created a belief that “men can’t love me”, “I am not worthy of love”, “I have to be perfect to be lovable”, and more. That subconscious belief causes you to react to situations in ways that actually CAUSE the fear inside that belief system to be true.
You might have the fear that no one can love you, and you are in a loving relationship. You may act in ways that cause that fear to become reality. You might get jealous of your partner and feel the need to check their social media accounts or texts. You might feel the need to question them on where they are or how they interact with others. There might be times when partner doesn’t feel conversational, but the perception is that this an a desire to not be close. Because of those perceptions, you react with that assumption that your partner does not want to be close to you.
But what if your perception was a misunderstanding of the situation? What if your partner has a stomachache or a myriad of other reasons they need to be quiet? Your insecurities may cause you to interpret the worst scenario. Anyone would get very tired of that very fast.
Actions you take based upon your own FEAR can cause that fear to become reality. No matter how much your partner loves you, these behaviors will push them away. Eventually, your partner will grow so frustrated with these behaviors that they DO stop loving you.
But, once you have had enough experiences in life to be able to see a pattern of disruption, you can make a change! You don’t have to keep living in the same patterns.
Some people never choose to change their patterns. They go about blaming the world. They perpetuate their own story that, “I am not lovable” or whatever it is. They are living life in a way that they never become self-aware. They believe that life is not fair to them, that they always get the short end of the stick, people just don’t respect them, etc.
THIS IS CAUSED BY BECOMING STUCK WITH THE BELIEF OF WHO YOU ARE.
If you believe that who you are is out of your control, then you never have to take responsibility to be someone better.
If your difficulties are always someone else’s fault, and you can get enough people to believe that, then you can indulge in SYMPATHY from others. That sympathy feels like love. People who don’t know you will hear your story, and if they are mentally stable, they will feel for you. They may even want to help you. That feels like love. And because it feels like love, when life is not offering the feeling of being loved, people get addicted to drama!
If you are living a life with lots of drama, you are likely making subconscious choices that encourage drama. The reason people do that is so that they can be a victim. The benefit of being a victim is that you will receive sympathy which then replaces the genuine love that they keep sabotaging.
See the cycle?
In this example:
1. You believe yourself to be unlovable.
2. Insecurities become prevalent (perhaps totally subconscious).
3. You begin to act in ways that make yourself less lovable.
4. People stop loving you.
5. You spin a story from limited aspects of the truth (because you can’t see the whole truth) so that you can be the perpetual blameless victim in the situation.
6. You can tell the story from a place of self-righteousness to make yourself appear as if you were the one who was wronged in the situation.
7. You tell this story to as many people as you can.
8. Others hear your story and can’t belief how unfortunate your life has been, they feel compassion and want to help you, and they offer you sympathy.
9. Sympathy feels like love.
10. Being self-righteous feels like empowerment and masquerades as self-respect.
11. If this is satisfying emotionally, you will recreate this situation over and over to feel the sympathy that replaces true love, and the self-righteousness that replaces true self-respect.
There are many, many complications to this over simplification… but the basic truth is there.
If you belief that you are a victim, you don’t have to make changes that allow you to grow and become a better person. If you blame others for your problems, you can appear to be a good person who is just having such rotten luck. If you are a victim others will feel sorry for you and you do not have to go through the difficult steps of addressing your own flaws and beliefs and doing the work to become a better version of YOU.
The theme here is that YOU DETERMINE WHO YOU ARE BY CHOOSING WHETHER OR NOT TO BECOME A BETTER PERSON.
Use whatever life throws at you as a situation to be a better person.
The stories you tell define who you are. Are your stories about terribly unfair things, horrible events, how people never understood you? I am here to say that no matter WHAT traumas you have endured, even if your child was brutally murdered (the worst thing I can think of), you have a choice. Either that will destroy you or you will become a better person.
Some terrible things happened to me in my life. For a long time I believed I was a victim. In therapy, I heard of this thing called the Christmas-tree effect where perpetrators of abuse can see potential victims as if they had Christmas lights strung around their neck. Victims of abuse get re-abused over and over by different people. I thought that was going to be the story for the rest of my life. But I got lucky. In my master’s degree training, I had to take several psychology courses. I learned about the power of our subconscious and how what we believe about ourselves affect who we are, which then affects how we perceive what happens in our lives.
Re-programming beliefs takes time and effort. One tool is to re-tell every story of your life from a different perspective.
As you look back at the stories of your life, empower them to effect you in the positive ways that you desire. “I was abused as a child and became afraid of the dark”, is one story. “I was abused as a child, became afraid of the dark, worked very hard to overcome that, and as a result I have developed a resounding inner strength that I didn’t know was possible” –is THE SAME story, told differently.
The stories you tell define who you think you are.
What stories do YOU want to tell?
YOU CAN BECOME WHO YOU WANT TO BE!
Consciously look for the patterns that are disrupting your life and KNOW that it is not the outer world that is causing the disruption.
Dive into the unraveling of faulty belief systems. Re-tell your stories. Change the subconscious beliefs that you have about yourself by re-telling the old stories with a different outcome. Decide to no longer be the victim. Tell the truth of YOUR story.
Who have you become as a result of all that you endured, all that you were blessed to receive, and all the work you have done to be the best you? Who will you be in one, five, or even ten years from now when you’ve spent your energy becoming the best you?
If we all stopped inciting gossip about others in order to make US look better and thus subconsciously evoking self-righteousness as a means to feel more secure, and provoking sympathy as a substitute for love, THEN we might all find real intimacy and self-love.
And then, humanity will heal.