Fifty-one years and 45 days actually.
The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, that inform our interpretation of interactions with others, are just that - stories.
In response to these stories, honed and embedded into our tissues over a lifetime, patterns develop unnoticed. Like our breathing reflex; our patterned responses to our experiences through the lenses of our stories become a natural reflex; they define us.
THIS IS WHO I AM.
Hurt. Betrayed. Loyal. Fierce. Kind. Curious. Hilarious. Loving. Abandoned. Afraid. Daring. Passionate. Generous. Enthusiastic. Unworthy. Incapable. Too much. Not enough. Always behind. Ashamed. Hiding.
We often navigate our way through life with patterns of shining, dimming and protecting ourselves on auto-pilot through each story that maps out our path as we interact with others and the world.
Because we want to feel safe, loved and accepted.
The kicker is that in the never-ending pursuit of the mythic, static, states of safety, love and acceptance in the world, we fortify ourselves with CERTAINTY.
I am ______. They are _____.
Therefore, to gain ______, I shine here, dim there and hide all that other messy business way over there in a locked cage in the dark dungeon of hurt and scariness.
Avoid at all times.
How is this the kicker?
Feeling safe, loved and accepted isn't an outside thing. It's an inside thing.
A deep, tender inside thing that requires us to bravely love and show up for ourselves, to ask ourselves if these stories are true, to consider another lens, another story.
We provide ourselves with the kind of space, curiosity and loving care that we often give to those we love without hesitation.
When we are certain, there is no room for curiosity, empathy, learning or growth.
When we are certain, we are unable to hear another story, for ourselves or from another person.
From certainty, we spend all our time defending, reinforcing, blocking +/or denying to avoid the tender, the hurt, the fear of not being heard, loved and accepted.
The kicker of certainty is that it guarantees the very outcome we are attempting to protect ourselves from: feeling disconnected, isolated, unsafe and unloved.
If we cannot hear and care for all our tender inside parts, how can we expect others to hear us, to care for us and to make room for us to learn and grow?
If we cannot hear and care for all our tender inside parts, how can we relate to others, see and empathize with the humans around us on their journey and perhaps learn from and lift each other on our respective paths?
If we cannot hear and care for all our tender inside parts, how can we change our stories?
THIS IS WHO I AM.
Open. Creative. Hurt. Joyful. Forgiving. Loyal. Fierce. Kind. Curious. Hilarious. Loving. Afraid. Resilient. Daring. Passionate. Generous. Smart. Committed. Grateful. Enthusiastic. Worthy. Capable. Exactly where I am supposed to be. Strong.
Little bit of a Fire Hazard.