When we’re busy living life in survival mode, we don’t have the time or the bandwidth to discover or create who we really are.
This is one of the reasons why, when we commit to recovery from trauma, addiction, or depression, we often have no idea what the hell to do next.
We don’t know who WE are.
Ideally, growing up should be a time of experimenting and exploring.
We figure out who we really are.
What we like. What we need. Who we want in our lives.
But a lot of us didn’t have the luxury of exploring and experimenting, did we?
A lot of us had to throw a LOT of energy toward just surviving growing up.
Either surviving dangerous physical environment, such as an abusive or neglectful one, or a psychologically dangerous environment, such as one shot through which verbal or emotional abuse.
How on earth are we supposed to figure out who the hell WE are, when we’re just trying to keep our head above water?
Fast forward to now— you’ve decided that you no longer want trauma, addiction, or depressions to define your moods or your choices.
That’s an extraordinary step and decision to make— but it begs the question of what do we do instead?
If our entire lives have been more or less a battle to just breathe and exist, either physically or psychologically, what on earth do we even do with our time, focus, and energy when we’ve definitively decided that our lives AREN’T going to be defined by those battles?
Weirdly, when we get into recovery from trauma, addiction, or depression, we often feel…young.
It might be that this moment— the moment we committed to recovery, to continuing to live and living in a different way— is the first moment we’ve ever really had to ask ourselves what we really want.
Who we really are.
What really DOES deserve our attention, if NOT the battle against our emotional and behavioral struggles.
It can be overwhelming.
indeed, the fact that the the “brand newness” of recovery IS kind of overwhelming is why many people go back to old patterns.
At least we knew where we stood with those old patterns.
At least we didn’t have to make so many decisions about what to do with our day and our focus— those decisions were made for us by the fact that trauma, addiction, and depression were so often trying to make us miserable or kill us.
To really succeed at recovery, we need to be prepared for it to feel unfamiliar. Awkward. Intimidating.
We need to be prepared to look at the world with fresh eyes.
We need to forgive ourselves for NOT having explored and experimented when we didn’t have the emotional bandwidth or oxygen to do so growing up.
And we need to embrace the opportunity to discover, rediscover, or maybe even create for the first time our true selves.
Our authentic self.
The “you” you were always meant to be.
I’ve said it before: part of what we “recover” in recovery is our authentic selves.
Your authentic self has been waiting for you to remember them.