To read about my process and journey to understanding my identity and who I am after my brain injury, click here: Identity
In my experience I needed to gain the clarity that I share in the below article. I needed to gain the clarity to be able to move forward with my life after I became aware of my brain injury.
This was a process for me.
After a brain injury we may feel lost.
After my brain injury, I found myself “lost”. Lost in many ways, as I attempted to understand and make sense of, “Who I Am?” and “What is my Destiny?.
Bewildered and Confused
In my question of trying to understand, I was bewildered and confused. As a result, I found myself guessing as I sought to find my place in a set of circumstances that did not make sense to me.
I felt lost because I kept running into proverbial “walls”, no matter how hard I tried. How hard I tried to be successful both in my academic and vocational pursuits and endeavors.
Several days ago I wrote the article, “TBI Brain Injury Recovery and What is my Destiny, Now?“. I wrote this article to share what helped me to begin to bring some clarity.
Some clarity to one of my questions, “How did and would my life matter after my brain injury?“.
No Idea Who I Was as an Individual
As I sought to make sense how my life mattered, after my brain injury I discovered. I discovered that I had no idea who I was as an individual or how my life mattered. Who I was or how I mattered, because I spent much of my time. Much of my time trying to make sense…
Trying to Make Sense
To make sense of what made little sense to me and of which I was blamed. As a result, I constantly felt like a square peg in a world of round holes. Not fitting in any where while attempting to answer, defend and explain my existence to a world of round holes.
Attempting to find my way out of the cycle of being blamed
In my struggle to not be blamed, shamed and scapegoated because I was “different” I used my time and energy. My time and energy people pleasing and approval seeking. I spent much of my time and energy trying to make other people “OK”.
Seek to make them “OK” or (fix them) so that they would not blame, shame or scapegoat me for their irritability, restlessness and discontentment. I did so in an attempt make them to be “OK” to feel secure.
To feel secure with them “OK“, so that I could be hope to be “OK” with me.
Discarding Parts of Myself that “made” them not “OK” with Me
To avoid being blamed, shamed and scapegoated I discarded parts of myself. Parts of myself that made me, me. Because I did not feel “OK” in myself, I lost myself. As a result, I had little time or energy to…
Time and energy to discover who I was and am and how my life mattered and matters.
Finding my Center and Discarded Parts of Myself
But thank God that through my recovery process I was able to define. Define and answer the question of “What is my Destiny, Now?”.
I did so through learning to be “OK” with myself. I did so through reclaiming parts of myself, even when other people were not “OK” with me.
“Never allow yourself to be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life. Define yourself.” Robert Frost
“Understanding the Identity of “Who I Am?” after my Brain Injury”
In today’s article, I will share what helped me to answer the question of “Identity?” and “Who I Am?“
Blue Font denotes what society and other people may think.
Purple Font denotes what we can choose to think about ourselves.
My Hope as You read this Article
My hope is that as you read what helped me to define, discover my identity, who I am and how my life mattered and matters that you will be encouraged. Encouraged to define your identity, be who you are and become aware of how your life mattered and matters.
Start of the article
Over the past several days I have been thinking about the concept of an identity. As I have shared in My Journey thus Far, for many years I felt like a man all dressed up with nowhere to go in life.
Although I diligently applied myself to both academic and vocational pursuits none secured or provided an identity for me. In my attempt to define my meaning and purpose I sought to fulfill the requirements of specific identities.
The Notion of “If”
You see I bought into the notion of “if”. If I was able to secure the identity of “What do you do for a living?” then I could know who I was. Know who I was and am after my brain injury. With knowing who I am, then I could find my place in the world.
But due to the invisible nature of my traumatic brain injury I kept failing in my attempt (s) to find that identity.
Failed time after time to define my identity, as I was frequently met with disappointment. Met with disappointment and discouragement through being “fired” from “all” of my attempts to maintain gainful and traditional employment.
Met with disappointment and discouragement because I had bought into the notion.
The Notion of Needing to Secure Gainful and Traditional Employment
Bought into the notion that “the identity” of gainful and traditional employment would some how “save”. “Save me” by defining my identity, meaning and purpose. Nevertheless, each of my attempts to find and secure my identity brought me face to face.
Brought me Face to Face
Face to face with yet one more disappointment, although I diligently and persistently applied myself. Diligently and persistently in an attempt to secure my identity to know who I am. In the process, I consistently found myself confused.
Confused and Bewildered
Confused and bewildered because I had bought in to the notion. The notion that if I could secure an identity, then my life would matter. What made matters more frustrating for me was that I led to believe that my identity needed to be.
Validated, Esteemed and Rewarded
Needed to be validated, esteemed and rewarded by the society in which I lived. A society in which I lived and felt like a square peg. But thank God that my eyes slowly opened to the reality that I had more power than I realized.
My Eyes slowly opened
Through my repeated disappointments and discouragement, my eyes slowly opened. Slowly opened to the illusion that I needed to secure an (my) identity. My identify through the validation, esteem and approval of a society.
A society of round holes, in which I did not fit.
What became increasingly obvious
What became increasingly obvious was that I was not going to find my identity in traditional employment. What also became apparent was that needed to independently define my own identity. I needed to discover what worked for me.
“If you change the way you tell your own story, you can change the colour and create a life in technicolour.” Isabel Allende
I needed to change the way in which I was seeing my “story”. I needed to change the way that I was defining my process and my journey. I needed to replace the expectations of societal “identities” with my own defined identity.
The identity given by the understanding of who I am as an individual, given my gifts, talents and abilities. As a result, I no longer needed to see myself as living. Living as a square peg in a world of round holes and their expectations of me.
Because I was unable and could not secure “their expectation” of “their identity“ through working in gainful traditional employment.
Create my Own Identity
As a square peg I needed to create my identity through expressing myself. Express myself creatively in ways that would work for me. Creatively through using my gifts, talents and abilities to color my life and world.
“Don’t wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul.” Luther Burbank
Free to Define Our Own Identity
Through expressing ourselves creatively, in ways that work for us, we no longer needed to feel confused and bewildered. Confused and bewildered because of our deficits and limitations. Because of our brain injuries.
Our brain injury, deficits and limitations no longer have define our identity. Do not define our identity or who we are as we live our lives. Our identify is defined as we creatively express ourselves.
Express ourselves through our passion (s) by using our gifts, talents and abilities in ways that work for us. Our identity is expressed through our gifts, talents and abilities. In the process, we define ourselves. In the process, we express who we are.
Define ourselves through our gifts, talents and abilities. In the process, we express our meaning and purpose after our brain injury.
Therefore, we no longer need to fulfill the requirements of an identity to define our meaning and purpose. Instead, we can allow our identity to evolve as we express our passion (s) through our gifts, talents and abilities.
And over time we discover more and more about “who we are”. We will discover more about ourselves because we are no longer trying to feel secure in a world of round holes.
We are free to Define
As we express who we are, we find freedom from needing to pursue and meet the expectation. Pursue and meet the expectation defined by the role in societal identity. We are free to use our time and energy to express our identity and be who we are.
We are free to live in our identity and be who we are, instead of being driven to prove ourselves. Prove ourselves through a societal identity to feel secure. Instead, we find security in living in our own identity of who we are as we express ourselves creatively in ways that work for us.