Posts tagged ‘personality’

The New Embrace of 2015

2015 Embrace!

2015 Embrace!

I embrace you. I embrace each of you warmly and securely. My intention for 2015 is to help you see how uniquely resilient and creative your adaption to your life has been. I dedicate fifty-two blogs in 2015 to the celebration of survival and triumph. Each Saturday we’ll drink lemonade together! Life and its circumstances may have bombarded you with lemons, but look what you did with them. As the President says to Katniss in the new Hunger Games movie: “You’ve got this, soldier!”
You’ve got this and you’ve had this. Were it not so, you would not be reading this blog. You have not only survived – although I feel you prickling at my use of the word “survived” because you prefer to think you have just done what anyone would have done in the circumstances – but you have triumphed – and I feel you prickling at my use of the word “triumphed” as most of the time you do not feel like you have overcome anything but simply lived through it. I know that more of the time you feel like you are just getting by and figuring it out as you go along. I suspect that most of the time you don’t even allow yourself to think about the past and what you have gone through to get where you are.
That’s actually where I want to start this first day of this new series of writings. As you know, I am a therapist who by chance or divine direction or both has come to know somethings about PTSD. Here’s one of the first things I ever learned: don’t let anyone ever force you to talk about or think about anything that has happened to you. You do not need to remember. You do not need to write it down. You do not need to talk to anyone about anything you have endured. You can. If you want to, you absolutely can. But, it is not necessary, and sometimes it can be downright harmful.
Here’s where your brilliant creativity comes in. You have each survived trauma in your own individual and courageous way.  As I say in the introduction to The Many Faces of PTSD, “Do not compare your trauma to that of anyone else.” Here’s the truth of that, which is a truth of life: there is always someone prettier, slimmer and less traumatized. There is always someone less pretty, chubbier and more traumatized. Everything is relative. Actually, there is a lot of humor in that statement, since many of our relatives are responsible for many of our trauma experiences. As one of my clients likes to say, “If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.”
Whatever you have gone through cannot be compared to what anyone else has gone through. That’s useless and destructive. Whatever you have gone through can only be constructed into the very foundation, framework, functionality, and style of YOU. They say that when we dream of a house, we are dreaming of ourselves. If we dream we’re in a tent, we’re probably feeling vulnerable. If we dream we’re living in a cave, we may feel we must hide our true selves. (I don’t mean this as a guide to dream interpretation.)  I am only trying to say that each of us builds a structure that becomes ME: my “self”, my ego, my personality, the persona which I “live in” as I go through life. At times we renovate and redecorate, but we have designed the very structure of our SELF based on what we have needed to live through what life has given us.
I have spoken before about the three basic ways we come through things: fight, flight or freeze. These can become the basis of a personality which is angry (fight), anxious (flight) or sad (freeze). THERE IS NO BAD PERSONALITY. Our personalities have developed, as have our egos and our personas (the picture of ourselves that we offer the world), as a result of every piece of creative response we have been able to muster. And no two people who are exposed to similar circumstances will respond in completely similar ways. I remember teaching in communication classes the list of about forty variables which affect our responses, things like culture, values, ethnicity, coping skills, age, gender, time of day, time of year, world events. . .  It’s a very long and involved list.
I have also talked about the Myers-Briggs in The Many faces of PTSD and The Many Faces of Anxiety. In the Support Letters and Guides to Healing which I’m offering through The Pillar of Light Foundation (website presently under construction, Coming soon!), I’m going to be talking in some depth about the Myers-Briggs next month. (manyfacesofptsd.com) I mention the Myers-Briggs now because it explains how temperament factors in to our responses. We come into the world wired. It’s like coming into the world as a Smart Car or a Chevy Van or a Dodge Charger. We come in with different equipment, different skills, different styles, and different abilities, even though we’re all cars.
Self-knowledge is a necessary predecessor to self-acceptance. But make no mistake. Whatever we learn about ourselves is simply what is. For example, I like people better than animals. I have no patience with “things” and have horrible spatial skills. All these parts of me simply are. However, just because I like people better than animals doesn’t give me the right to kick the cat. Just because I have no patience with things, doesn’t give me the right to destroy “things” which frustrate me. Our preferences and dominant aspects are never excuses. Who we are in our naked, solitary moments is simply an explanation which will help us understand and accept ourselves.
If I’m a Smart Car, I’m going to get passed a lot, but I’m also going to fit into the tightest of parking spaces and save the planet by requiring little fuel. (But where do they put their golf clubs?) If I’m a Chevy Van, I’ll have plenty of room for friends and a comfortable ride, but the friends are going to have to chip in at the gas pump. (Plus, all that room might encourage my hoarding tendencies.) If I’m a Dodge Charger, I can leave everyone in the dust. That could be lonely. Plus, speeding tickets are very expensive.
No car has everything. Every car has something. The purpose of this writing is not to encourage you to figure out what kind of car or house you are. You probably already have a fairly clear idea. The purpose and hope is that you will embrace your uniqueness and your style. I pray you will spend the year, with or without my musings to stir you, seeing yourself through new, welcoming, generous eyes. This is the beginning of 2015, a year I know can be the best year each of us have ever created for ourselves in whatever ways we most need and desire.

Blessings for new beginnings, susan

Blessings for the continuity of photography by Mary Ellen Jelen

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January 3, 2015 at 1:13 AM 3 comments


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