In the quest to know myself at the deepest levels possible, I have become intimately acquainted with my story. There's my childhood story, my religion story, my man story, my why-I'm-allergic-to-every-processed-food story (and yes, it is directly linked to having to clean my entire plate of food before leaving the kitchen table as a child). It seemed that knowing these stories and understanding them was important to my development. It seemed like I wouldn't be able to grow fully into the woman I am today without knowing these stories in intricate detail.
And in many regards this has been and is true. But, what I'm discovering is that this is helpful only up to a certain point.
What I'm about to share with you today is still in process for me. It's a new insight that is changing the way I look at my and your and our worlds. I'm fleshing it out, feeling into it, practicing some new behaviors and would love your perspective in the comments below. I think I might really be on to something here...
It is our stories, wounds and traumas as our identity. Who would we be if we didn't draw from or pull forward our stories, wounds and traumas to explain who we are and why we are behaving the way that we are?
Identification with a story is not about sharing our stories or using what we've overcome as encouragement for others. Identity with story is a whole other animal; it's when what we went through defines who we are and paralyzes some aspect -- if not all aspects -- of our life from moving forward. Because the truth is: What we go through in life informs who we choose to become, but it should not define us.
I am not my story, not any one of them. But there is one story I have recently realized I have taken on as who I am in a big way. It's my emotionally unavailable parents story and what that all "means." This isn't a story I share to inspire others in my professional life, but rather a story I notice I use to explain why I've been married and divorced, why I have trouble with conflict in close relationships, and/or why I attract individuals that play out these old dynamics. I've let my shame, pain and trauma from this aspect of my childhood define me and that has kept me locked in a cycle that doesn't allow the fullest expansion of who-I-really-am in close relationships -- both friendships and romantic relationships.
So, how do you know if your story, wound, addiction or trauma has become your identity?
• You find yourself explaining ad nauseum why you do or don't do something or act a certain way.
• You attend support groups, meet-ups, and other events that are focused on telling the story of the trauma, wound, addiction, injury -- even though the initial impact has long since passed. You may notice that the energy feels heavy at these events and there is a lot of verbal over-processing.
• You won't allow yourself to shine fully -- particularly in the presence of someone or something that mirrors your story in some way.
• You are unable to be fully in the present moment because you're so busy matching up whatever is happening to your story of what happened before. (Oh. I so know this one well.)
It is our birthright to embrace the whole-ness of who we are -- and that cannot be defined by any event, any tragedy or any hurt. To dig beyond the past and move into the stillness of our soul to that part of us that is whole and complete and always has been is what I believe we are all meant to experience.
So, what can we do if we resonate with the above?
In the quantum field (which we all exist in), just a simple acknowledgment of story as our identity begins to shift it. We can use that awareness to adjust and uplift our conversations, no longer explaining why or how we behave. We can use that awareness to reach out to new friends and romantic partners who are living from the present and expanding into the future. We can notice the desire to withdraw our light in the presence of an old story and instead take a deep breath, tap Cortices and shine ever brighter. We can align with facilitators, therapists or healing arts practitioners who can hold the space and support us in releasing these stories and step into the truth of who-we-really-are more than ever.
Ultimately, we can release our wounds as identity by our willingness to be and accept who-we-are now, in this very moment. You know why? Because you are so damn beautiful and amazing just as you are. Right here, and right now -- no story needed.
For more by Heather Strang, click here.