Recently, an encounter set off some self reflection in me. Really, it’s not just this specific interaction, but rather a multitude of events that has pushed me to deeply examine the person I once was.
I have been carrying an uncomfortable amount of shame from my past self, I’ve noticed it comes up whenever I find myself doing something that I thought of as someone else’s responsibility, or during interactions that highlight the difference between my current self and who I used to be. My therapist advises me to be aware of these instances, to acknowledge them, and most importantly, to give myself some grace. My sister-in-law also gave me the same sentiment of giving grace for myself.
I’m in a phase where I’ve realized how much of my identity was shaped by the input of others. Sure, being part of a community, we’re bound to absorb and reflect on the influences around us – it’s part of being social creatures. However, I’ve been questioning every aspect of my existence – my actions, words, and beliefs. I want to make sure I’m molding myself based on my own choices, not merely echoing the expectations of others.
Lately, I’ve been actively sharing content related to religious trauma on my social media. Despite causing some disagreements, it’s been therapeutic for me. I’m not aiming to change anyone’s beliefs. I’m merely sharing content that has brought me comfort, clarity, or laughter, in hopes it might resonate with someone else.
Here’s the heart of my current journey: I’ve deconstructed the societal norms and religious doctrines that heavily influenced me, only to realize that they shaped me into someone I never wanted to be. Now, I am in the middle of my own deconstruction, preparing to rebuild myself into the person I truly want to be. It’s a path filled with grief, lost friendships, and altered relationships. But at the end of the day, I need to be content with myself. This journey has ultimately led to deeper relationships with others, individuals who are either on a similar journey or have traversed it for a while. These relationships have come to mean more to me than they will ever know.
This process of continually improving is a never-ending journey. I aim to consistently evolve, learning and growing to better meet my needs and those of the people around me.
I had a meaningful conversation with my partner this morning in response to the encounter I started my day with. We spoke about the uncertainties of life, and I mentioned how I am unsure of what’s beyond our existence or why we’re here, or if there’s a divine power orchestrating everything. What I truly want is to live by the “Golden Rule” – treat others as you’d like to be treated. Not in hopes for an eternal afterlife or reward, but simply because it feels good to give and receive love and respect. If it feels good to me, it must feel good to others too, because deep down, we’re not that different.