Perhaps you have felt the paralyzing fear that you will be labeled for what you are struggling with. Your self-identified weakness will become your identity, your insecurities will become who you are, your addiction will be all that is ever remembered of you. While we certainly cannot control how other people see us, we CAN control what we believe to be our identity.
What consumes us is always at the front of our consciousness. Whether is is a physical ailment, a skill or talent, or a psychological struggle. There is something that is central to us, for some it changes with the seasons, for others it is a constant battle. Maybe you do not know any different, maybe you do but you cannot seem to remember what it felt like.
You might identify yourself as an athlete.
You might see yourself as a writer, intellectual, student, or mother.
Conversely, you might see yourself as everything you despise. You might see yourself as a failure, sub-par or an almost-made it.
I thought if I shared anything beyond the positive sides of me, that is what I would become. That by saying it I was releasing a part of my identity that would take over anything else I have managed to build for my self-image.
We seem to focus on the negative things that become our identity, but when did it become okay to label ourselves with our pain? In what context does it make sense to reduce our value to all of the things that keep us from being ourselves?
What if I said you are not your pain? What if I said you are not your struggles? What if I said those things are the complete opposite to the core of your being?
Could you even begin to believe that?
Maybe pain is simply a response to everything that defies who you are. Maybe it is your body telling you that things are not right, yet somewhere along the line we thought normality was this pain that we felt.
While sudden pain might have once shocked you and alerted you of danger, now it serves to create an identity of this person you never claimed to be. You befriend this pain, because you can’t see beyond it, and you accept the fact that it is who you are.
While it may not be immediately conquerable, understood or deserved, there is more to it.
We are fortunate enough to have a clear signal that tells us of an imbalance, yet it serves the opposite purpose when we latch onto the pain rather than trying to see beyond it.
Until we can separate the pain and the problem, the problem will just be the pain. We can learn to treat the pain all we want, but if we never try to treat the problem, we are stuck in a cycle of temporary relief.
We have made incredible progress treating many symptoms. But the problem is when we stop there. This goes beyond medical intercession, into all the ways in which we suppress or hide our imperfections to avoid becoming them.
Some are easier to hide than others.
I do not have an explanation for all the things that cause you strife, I simply want to propose the idea that it is not YOU.
It is just the opposite.
What if you looked at emotional pain the same as physical pain? What if you responded with asking for help?
What if you simply realized that something is not right, and knew you deserve to live in harmony, not conflict?
What if pain became a signal rather than a secret?
What if it was there to alert you rather than harm you?
What if you truly believed your identity lies in the person that you are in spite of everything you have been bound by?
Maybe it is our response to pain that creates the chaos, not the pain itself. Maybe it is all the ways we try to cover it up, instead of seeing it as important.
Maybe our chains come from letting pain become who we are. And maybe we can break them simply by seeing that there is more.