You are not who you are because of your family. You are not who you are because of what has happened to you in your life, how you were raised or your genetics. This is just your starting point. You are who you are because of how you see your life experience and how you choose to deal with it. More accurately: you are who you are because of how you react to what you believe is the truth.
Linc was a precocious child and blamed his stepmother for everything that didn’t go his way. He believed that she was the reason that his parents weren’t together, although his parents had been divorced for two years before she met his dad. He believed that he couldn’t get all of the toys that he wanted because his dad spent all of his money on her. Money for a new bike, vacations and eventually college fees and wedding expenses wasn’t there because all of the money went to the step. What he wouldn’t believe was that there was no money and that there had never been any money. At 6 years old Linc recognized two major changes in his life: stepmother in, toys out. Although he didn’t have the words at that time, he saw it as cause and effect and nothing could challenge that belief. Throughout the years he stayed loyal and loving to his dad, believing that he was blind to her manipulations. But even as an adult, when he finally accepted their financial truth, Linc’s identity was so wrapped up in using the step as a scapegoat that he couldn’t let his negative feelings for her go.
As a child, Linc’s behavior was so unpleasant that though they loved him dearly, his grands decided that sleepovers were out of the question. When friends of his dad and step had family events, only the adults were invited. Link missed out on a lot of things because of how he reacted to what he believed was the truth. Except it wasn’t.
Ana’s truth was different. Her parents had a terribly unhealthy relationship. From watching them she believed that all relationships brought grief and misery. To protect herself from living a miserable life, she began to think of and treat people as disposable. Throughout her twenties she had one unhealthy relationship after another, but then something changed. She saw a couple sitting together on a park bench holding hands affectionately and gently laughing. Somehow this struck a chord in her. She told me: Their love was palpable. I wondered, is it possible that people could be in a relationship and be kind and supportive of each other? Throughout her life she had believed that any relationship meant suffering and that those who appeared happy were just acting. With the new awareness that maybe her thinking was wrong, she was able to get help and learn to see things in a different light.
We all have beliefs that we hold to be true, but what if they’re not? How would our life be different if we opened ourselves to the possibility that our thinking is keeping us from seeing a different truth? What if we opened ourselves to the possibility that some of our beliefs may be keeping us from experiencing the joy that life has to offer?