Reclaiming and Uniting all the Parts of Ourselves
Recently I made a new friend online. In the course of chatting back and forth I realized that I was coming across in a manner that was a bit stiff, and not the free, fun-loving person that I believe myself to be.
As I reflected on this, I realized that over the past few years I had learned to hide, or couch some of these fun-loving aspects in response to some dramatic, and traumatic life events.
It is not always a big, earth-shattering event that causes you to hold back some aspect of your personality. It can be repeated criticism about some personality trait you have, or even deliberately having cultivated a newer way of behaving you may have inadvertently let go of, or lost an aspect of yourself.
Are you missing something that you used to take for granted? Maybe you are a very funny, witty person but have had some challenges that required you to become more serious and focused.
But, perhaps you can find a way to re-incorporate your formerly light hearted, humorous self and continue being focused and serious where it is required.
Read along with me to discover how you may have lost, or hidden beautiful parts of yourself and how to reclaim them to find yourself more fully integrated.
When I was six years old, entering the first grade, I made a friendship with a classmate named Nancy. She and I became fast friends and maintained that friendship well into our forties.
We lost touch, as so often happens with even our dearest friends during the business of living our lives. But, because of our deep connection we did find our way back in our early fifties.
Backing up a bit, during her teenage years Nancy chose to be called by her Middle name of Jean. Having been teased relentlessly as a child and having her name Nancy be used in way's that made her feel unhappy ("Nasty Nancy" etc), she felt the name Jean more closely resembled who she was and wanted to be.
And, she really did make great strides at being a different person just by changing her name. She became more confident and ultimately went on to pursue a career in Modeling; something "Nancy" would never have done.
I mention all of this because after our brief estrangement, she told me she was using her entire name of Nancy Jean. She said the reason was that she wanted to "reclaim all parts of herself". She felt that when she dropped the name Nancy, she also dropped aspects of herself that she had missed.
This struck me as simple, yet so very profound. It wasn't the name itself that carried any power, but the attachment and identity she related to the name,
Are there parts of yourself that you've set aside to more readily fit in with others? Maybe you were told that you talked too much or too loud and have learned how to modify that?
That is true for me! As a youngster, I was constantly being told to "shut up" and stop talking. I was very loquacious and always had something to say. I also had a voice that carried and spent many of my grade school years in detention or staying after school.
I had a become a bit of a class clown; it was my way of getting the attention that I so sorely was lacking at home and elsewhere.
But, over the years, I became weary of being told to be quiet, to stop talking; I decided I wanted to get attention for being a good kid, and not the clown.
I worked hard to modify my speech and to learn how and when to talk.
Today I'm told that I have a very soft, mellifluous voice and that is truly remarkable if you knew me in the first 20 years or so.
I don't regret having learned to control my speech and to have developed a voice that is more pleasing to the ear. But, I do regret that I let other parts of myself go along with my verbosity.
Maybe if we are more conscious about how we are creating our style, we can learn to keep all of our parts, while simply making some of the edges a bit smoother.
Let's look at strategies for being complete and yet better versions of ourselves.
Love Yourself, Warts and All
You may be tired of hearing it, but truly the foundation for all of this type of work is to love yourself. It is in loving yourself that you can advocate for creating the best persona and life that is possible for you.
Think about how you feel about your child, a parent, best friend or spouse. Consider that the change you want to make in yourself is something you wish were different in them. How would you approach making your request for change if it were other than yourself?
This is crucial to your efforts, because if you are unable to be kind and gentle and patient and supportive, the changes are less likely to occur, or if they do, they are less likely to be sustainable.
Say your beloved spouse leaves their dirty clothes on the floor instead of the hamper. If you want them to make a change and start using only the hamper do you say "Pick up your filthy clothes or I'm going to burn them!", or do you perhaps ask in a more loving way? Think about the things in yourself you wish were different.
Maybe you wish you were more witty, or spontaneous in conversation. Would you berate yourself for being too stupid to have witty repartee, or would you lovingly say to yourself that you wish you could be more creative and relaxed in conversation?
I hope you chose the later option because not much good can come from the former approach. Usually, we are much more gentle, patient and loving with others than we are with ourselves.
We don't always realize that we have lost some part of our personality, or buried it. It may not be noticeable to others, but might show up in how you live your day to day life and the degree to which you can find contentment or happiness.
For myself, I realize that in surviving a very traumatic event a few years ago that I developed a lot of protective mechanism's that while keeping me safe from people who would harm me, it has also put a barrier between myself and people who might bring positive energy and good to my life!
I didn't realize how much I had changed until I allowed myself the opportunity to connect with this new friend. In reflecting over our chat's I realize that some of my freedom, spontaneity and sense of my own feminine power were deeply buried.
Are there things that have hurt you or frightened you and caused you to hide a part of yourself that has the potential to bring you more joy!
Let's look at how you might find what's missing and reclaim it!
Reunited and It Feels So Good
Personally, the more I have found my missing parts and been able to reclaim them, the happier I am becoming. Our light is meant to shine, not be hidden under a bushel.
We all have unique talents that set us apart from others. You deserve to be the fullest expression of all that you are!
I think one of the simplest ways for you to be in touch with yourself and perhaps find missing aspects is in getting quiet and going within. Meditation is one wonderful tool that will accomplish this.
It need not be a formal program, but rather spending about ten to twenty minutes a day in quiet and allowing yourself to simply just be.
Another tool is to journal. You can use a seventy nine cent notebook or a special Journal meant for this purpose. The magic is in taking pen to paper with a stream of consciousness. In this manner, things have a way of bubbling up and getting your attention.
Really, anything that you can do that brings you to a state of better or stronger Mindfulness will move you in the right direction.
Another thing that is helpful is to talk freely with anybody whom you have known for a long time. Ask them honestly if you seem to be the same person you were when you first met, or if you have changed. Be open to finding any of your parts that are missing and reincorporating them back in to being more fully You.
I truly believe that as long as we are alive and breathing, the possibility for change is ever present. If there is a willingness to go deep and a desire for change, it is a given that it will occur.
To be clear, I'm not addressing the very real issue of Disassociation or "multiple personality" disorder. That is a serious condition that requires professional help.
But, I believe that most of us will develop coping mechanisms that may result in the loss of some key traits we really prefer to hold on to.
Consider this; You were not born to fit in but to stand out! So, be the best, bodacious beautiful version of You that you can be. Everybody wins!