Do you ever wonder... how did I get here?
How am I 30, 40, 50 and not know who I am? How is it possible that I am so confused and unhappy with my identity and my life? What am I supposed to be doing? Is this right? No, is this right? What about this? It’s a dark rabbit hole of questioning and doubting, fear and anxiety.
Perhaps you have found yourself pleading to a higher power (as I have myself).
“Dear God/Universe/Higher Power, it’s me.
Can I ask you a question? Who am I?
Am I my heart? Am I my body? Am I my soul? Science tells us that we are matter made up of particles of energy. Spirituality and religion say that we are our hearts and souls. Something more than third dimensional. We are bigger, stronger, with incredible potentials and possibilities. But often that just isn’t enough.
What’s my purpose? What’s in my heart? What is my reason for being? Why am I alive? Why am I here?
Dear God, what makes me special? What makes me different and deserving of the air that I breathe?
It can’t possibly just be that I’m a mother or a daughter or a lover. It must be more because my heart tells me that I am more than that. I’d be able to stop searching if it was just that right? Yet, here I am day after day lost in the abyss of the darkness of my mind, questioning reality and contemplating my existence.
With my head in the toilet I have pleaded with you, God, if you just help me feel better right now and metabolize all of this alcohol quickly, I will never drink again. And you oblige within a day or several hours. You oblige knowing that I will likely NOT keep my word.
But, this, this huge question of WHO AM I . . . you never answer. And really I thought that this question was right up your alley. It was in your wheelhouse. I thought you loved this shit and that you would bring an answer quickly for me.
But nothing. And I am still here, day after day, asking.”
I've done this plenty of times and have had those exact thoughts over and over again at different times in my life. Which really got me thinking… and so I took to do some research about why many of us constantly question our identities.
And here's what I found...
According to Dr. Bessel van Der Kolk, it's all about the trauma.
Trauma affects areas of the brain that are associated with consciousness. When the body is experiencing trauma or PTSD (prolonged trauma of any shape or kind), it affects our sense of self. Those areas in the brain, simply don’t light up! And so we don’t know what we want, who we are, what we are doing, or what’s best for us.
We literally learn to shut down those parts of our brains that are associated with feeling and emotion to not feel the terror. But unfortunately, those are the SAME parts of our brains that affect our self awareness, who we are, what we feel.
This is why when clients come to me with some sort of an identity crisis, it's never really about who they are or not knowing. It's that their bodies and mind don't feel safe enough to let the truth be unveiled. It's always within us .. it's just a matter of allowing it out and feeling safe enough to do so.
So if you're in this boat right now ... confused about who or what or if or how... take a deep breath. Allow your shoulders to relax and simply tell yourself that it is safe. Safe to be. Safe to feel. Safe to breathe.
It’s up to us to see the signs from a higher power. It’s up to us to follow our intuition. Start here by allowing yourself to be safe as you are whoever you are. Then follow a hunch, a street sign, a voice on TV, a social media post and begin experimenting with hearing and feeling your intuition, your higher self. Journal it, draw it, express it. It’s all part of who we are.