Scrambling to find self worth. Is that what we all do as children? At first trying to find it in the eyes of significant adults in our lives or through the comments they make about us, around us, to us, with us. What about their actions? Do those affect how we perceive our own importance or worth while-ness? These are some of the questions I consider about how I have come to be who I am right now at age 62. For, after all, I am not the same person I was even ten years ago. I am surely a culmination of the tweaking of my self perceptions of me over the years.
At times I mourn the time I wasted on believing other people's realities. Was I so needy of their acknowledgement that I readily and willingly gave up the truth of who I was, succumbing to reinforcing their stereotypes of me in order that they love me? Do we all do that?
Even as I think about this stuff or write it down so that I can see it in black and white in front of my eyes, I know that unlearning early emotional memory – early childhood brain washing – is almost an impossibility. And yet, I barrel forward receiving gifts of validation along the way that help as I stumble and scramble to discover a different, kinder, gentler reality of my self: that I am just a regular human being like anyone else, with flaws and failings, as well as strengths and accomplishments. With all kinds of feelings that all human beings have: anger, jealousy, love, and longing … on and on. And that, at the same time as feelings and flaws are so universal to all humankind, mine are perfectly unique to me – my genetics, early childhood experiences, and interpretations of others beliefs about me.
As I read memoir after memoir I discover traces of my self in all of them somehow. I cannot imagine that mine would be unique. Are any of them? For most of them tell tales of overcoming challenging early childhoods, resiliency and courage to understand, forgive and move on. They buoy us forward in our own quests for self actualization. I think about the purpose of my memoir. Indeed, part of the challenge of writing one is in the definition of its purpose.
Is that what I want to do? Give others strength and courage through my own life stories? Do I want to write to understand me more? Or do I feel the need to tell my story so that I no longer feel invisible, unheard – an individual with a mind of her own?
The complexity of it all is awesome, overwhelming even, and in this early morn I mourn for the young girl I once thought I was.
A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Therapy reflections