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“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
Living with the Impact of a Brain Injury can leave us feeling trapped and limited by the notion that we are our brain injuries. In this notion, we can be lead to believe that we have little power over our lives.
Living with the impact of a brain injury can lead people living with the impact of brain injuries to believe that choosing sanity is out of our reach.
In the process, we can doubt our ability to trust ourselves
But the good news is that we can choose to be sane. But the good news is that we can learn how to trust ourselves.
The good news is that we can choose to be sane, one day at a time. The good news is that we can learn how to trust ourselves a little at a time.
Through my ongoing recovery process, I discovered something that I would like to share with you.
On May 1, 2008, I wrote the below article under the title of Second Chance to Live — Why do I react? Below is a revision of the article.
Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live. I am delighted to see that you decided to stop by and visit with me. Please remember that you are always welcome around my table. Earlier today I became aware of some information that may result in my having to make some major changes in my world. Consequently, I have experienced various emotions. These emotions resulted in my becoming restless, irritable and discontent.
Based on my previous experience and some wise counsel I realized that I needed to go to a support group meeting so that I could quiet my unrest. As I listened and reflected I regained my center.
Throughout my life’s experience, I have come to believe that many of my present-day reactions to people, places, and situations are directly linked to my previous experiences with people, places, and situations. My present day reactions may be the result of specific smells, sounds or situations that were associated with an event or a person from my past. Consequently, I may find myself reacting in such a way that has little to do with my present circumstances.
For many years I was oblivious to the impact that memories had upon my life. Consequently, I found myself being blind-sided by the emotions that were attached to those memories. In essence, my emotionally charged memories were creating present day difficulties. For sake of a better word, I will call these emotionally charged memories triggers. Triggers are tripped when I have experiences that remind me of those emotionally charged memories.
I found that my triggers interfere with my present day living because my reactions were in response to emotionally charged memories.
Through my process, I have grown in my awareness. I have found that triggers bring about specific responses, almost in “knee-jerk” fashion. Triggers open the door to unconscious messages that catalyze my reactions. These reactions are emotionally charged and susceptible to a lack of rational thinking. In my experience, I have found a common link between my emotionally charged memories and my present day reactions – my resentments.
The common thread that links me to my emotionally charged memories and my present day reactions are my resentments.
A Practical Solution
As I have grown in my awareness I have come to realize that in order to be free from the pain of my resentments I need to be rigorously honest with myself. Through my experience, I employed strategies that have worked for many people who have come before me.
Thank God that I was led to a practical solution that could relieve me from the burden of my resentments.
Practically speaking, I found that I needed to make a list of the people that I have had held resentments towards throughout my lifetime. In my process, I started by examining my family history, my work history, my academic pursuits, my relationships and my involvement with various churches.
If nothing changes, nothing changes
Apart from being proactive in my own process, I perpetuate the pain that I am seeking to avoid.
I engaged in the exercise of identifying my resentments by examining specific periods of time in my life. I engaged in the process by dividing time periods in my life into manageable segments. From ages 0-6, 6-12, 12-18, 18-24, 24-30, 30- 40 and 40- present.
The exercise of listing the people that I held resentments towards (including myself) was not done to blame or point the finger in anyone’s direction, or for purposes of berating myself. The purpose of examining my resentments was to look for patterns.
Through becoming aware of the pattern (s) and how I related to my environment (s), I was able to understand why I reacted to various people, places, and situations during those times in my life.
As I examined why I reacted to those individuals, places, and institutions I was able to own my resentments.
As I was able to own my resentments I was able to make amends to both other people and myself.
What I Discovered
As I am able to examine, identify and find freedom from my resentments I choose sanity.
As I am able to examine, identify and find freedom from my irritability, restlessness, and discontent I choose to trust myself.
As I am able to examine, identify, and find freedom from my resentments my relationships improve.
As I am able to examine, identify and find freedom from my resentments I find sanity.
As I am able to examine, identify and find freedom from my resentments I learn to trust myself.
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