Understanding Who We Really Are

 

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Me and my mom’s brother Woody several years ago…

I’m going to be 50 on September 21st, and I’m still working on this one. I am reminding myself today, of how far I’ve come in my lifetime. It’s so easy to look at what I haven’t done, haven’t been, haven’t accomplished. It’s easy to compare myself to my more financially successful peers, with families of their own.

The challenge is seeing myself as I truly am. Without the haze that surrounds my thinking. So much of what we think and do each day is based on habits that we’ve reinforced over our lifetimes. Undoing the damage inflicted upon us by school, health issues, physical and mental abuse is hard work.

In my case, it’s been nearly full time work. So often people have asked me what I want to do with my life. “When are you going to live?”, They imply.

The answer is that I am living. That I have deepened my awareness of myself and of human relationships to the point where I feel I’m finally making some progress. Halelluya to that!

Individuals who have not looked at themselves closely, and examined their own part in the unhappiness they experience are missing out on something essential. Therapy is not only something that helps people like myself, who have been given the label of mental illness.

You have to know and understand what you are doing, before you can begin to change it. You have to understand how you are undermining yourself. Seeing clearly what is within your power, and what isn’t, is an important part of the lesson.

Persevering and learning to be patient with yourself, is another. A tough one to learn, as you probably already know. It’s been especially challenging for myself and other self-critical friends of mine.

We are so often encouraged to push, push, push, until we are drained of everything, and can’t possibly go any farther. Are we doing anyone a favor when we deal with ourselves in this way? It’s been my experience that no is the answer.

I felt this lightness and sense of ease today, for several moments. This is new to me. How exciting and unexpected.

You can wait and wait for transformations to occur within yourself, but it is really the slow and constant movement forward that changes us. That sticks with us in a deep way.

It’s not like we get to the apex of life one day, and are ‘fixed’ completely. At least it hasn’t been that way for me. To expect it is putting a lot of pressure on ourselves, and on life to dish us up something that is largely unattainable.

Remember the age-old story of the tortoise and the hare? I’ve been thinking more and more about that tale, and about how much of a turtle I’ve been through my life. It was something I didn’t see much value in, but that is finally changing.

We need not be ashamed of who we are, or of who we aren’t. It is enough to wake up daily on this planet, and find some beauty in it, and the beauty in ourselves. Don’t look at everyone around you to figure out who you are by comparison. Look within yourself, and value the lovely person that you find.

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