Who am I really? Each of us asks ourselves that question at some point along life’s journey. Some people continue to ask it every day until they die. Who am I? What is my essential, authentic self? Are you your thick, shiny mane of hair and sparkling smile? Are you the size zero jeans you fit into? Are you your flawless skin or terrible acne? Are you the illness that plagues you? Who are you? Do you dare answer that question?
I had a friend-we are no longer friends-who was a cancer survivor and survivor of incest. Her illness was brutal as were her rape and molestation. I could not help but feel for her as I am also the survivor of childhood abuse, and we were friends for a very long time. She was also smart and funny and a beautiful woman inside and out. But after a while I realized that our phone calls were all about pain and suffering. We never discussed anything else. She had, in effect, become the horrible parts of her life and that’s all she believed she was. They defined her. She made the choice to see herself as a victim of circumstance and nothing I said or did to help her see things differently changed that. In fact, she accused me of being unsympathetic-which perhaps I was at times but my level of frustration was very high-and it drove a wedge between us. We no longer speak, which is very sad to me, but I found for my own well-being I had to choose the nature of the energies with which I surrounded myself. It was a painful choice but one I needed to make.
Choice is a gift the Universe gives us and often we squander it, choosing to give up responsibility for our lives and ourselves. We believe all we are are the circumstances that have helped shape us and consequently, we treat ourselves very superficially. We can all too often forget that who we are is who we choose to be, how we feel and what we think are also choices, and that the choices we make in how we treat ourselves determine how we are treated by others.
But choice is also an obligation, a responsibility and promise you make to yourself each day. Exercising choice takes courage, especially when you have chosen to be your best, truest self. Your healthy evolution depends on making healthy choices for yourself and those you love. It can seem like a burden sometimes, but the bottom line is that it is your choices that define you, not how much money you make or if your father beat you. Those things are part of your history and makeup and certainly get figured in when adding up the sum total of your parts. But what you choose to be, do, think, say or feel says more about who you are than anything else about you.
In the second film in the series of HARRY POTTER films, Albus Dumbledore says to Harry, “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices!” For me that is the best, but often most difficult lesson. You are not your beautiful singing voice-it is a part of you of course-but you are what you choose to do with it. Choose wisely!