Wednesday, March 23, 2011

True Identity

I was watching The Biggest Loser last night and was impressed with several things that happened, but one in particular.  The contestant Justin said something about how cool it was to feel inside that he was someone special.

As I was writing in my journal this morning I was thinking about what Justin said.  It is not something I can say about myself right now, but maybe that's what this journey I am on is all about.  Maybe that is the core of all of this, to remember my "specialness."  Maybe once I realize that, I can move forward and accomplish my life's mission.  Maybe I just don't have the capacity to fulfill my mission until I can see that spark of individual worth inside.

I was looking at some articles on lds.org and found Susan W. Tanner's talk given in April 2007 entitled Daughters of Heavenly Father, this is how it begins: 

Our son-in-law told his daughter, three-year-old Eliza, that for family home evening they were going to have a lesson on a very special subject. She got a big smile on her face and attempted to guess the surprise. “It must be about me,” she said, “because I am very special!” Eliza remembers and knows who she is—a very special child of God. She has learned this from her mother, who from Eliza’s earliest infancy has sung our opening hymn, “I Am a Child of God” (Hymns, no. 301), as a nightly lullaby.

All over the world and in almost every language, young women ages 12 to 18 declare the same thing: “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him” (“Young Women Theme,” Young Women Personal Progress [booklet, 2001], 5). Yet as they grow up, they often grow away from the confident knowledge of three-year-old Eliza that they are very special. Youth often experience an identity crisis, wondering who they really are. The teenage years are also a time of what I describe as “identity theft,” meaning that worldly ideas, philosophies, and deceits confuse us, buffet us, and seek to rob us of the knowledge of our true identity.

We hear so often about "identity theft" as having our credit stolen, but I found it so interesting how she uses that same phrase to indicate the loss of the knowledge of our true identity and that we our "special."

In Co-Dependent No More, by Melodie Beattie she said:

To honor the self is to be willing to know not only what we think, what we want, need, desire, suffer over, are frightened of or angered by and to accept our right to experience such feelings. . . . To honor the self is to be in love with our own life, in love with our possibilities for growth and for experiencing joy.
I think that must have been what Justin was feeling, he was honoring himself and being "in love" with his own life.  At the end of the episode they showed him back home teaching, motivating and "calling out" the people around him to exercise and take care of themselves too.  To me it appears as if he found himself, his true identify and his purpose in life by honoring and loving himself .

I had one particular painful experience after I first started therapy and I felt as if my personal identity had been "stolen."  When I realized that I was co-dependent and how it started, I felt as if I didn't know who I was today.  I felt like I had left my true identity at that moment of crisis.  I was devastated and it was probably the darkest moment of my life.  It took sincere effort, prayer and guidance before I realized that I was still me, had been me all along, that I had only been ignoring a part of myself.  It wasn't a true identity theft, just a partial loss of my full identity.

I have since started trying to honor all parts of myself, trying to love myself and identify my true self, the part of me that loves me and realizes how special I am.  It's a journey that is easier and more natural for others, but has been a great challenge for me.  I am now excited for the day when I can see the joy on my face at feeling my "specialness" inside as Justin did on the show last night.  I see more and more of myself each day as I look in the mirror so I know that little by little I am uncovering my true identity.

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