We build our identities through our experiences and the meaning we make from them.  And we assume…we decide….that the meaning we have made out of those experiences are like gravity.  They are the absolute truth and can be depended on in every case.  But our experiences are limited, they are finite, they are influenced by our families, our living situations, our friends, our schools, and all of the inputs that have surrounded us since they day we were born.  Some of our experiences are stories, opinions, myths and misconceptions we have been told by others, some of our experiences are of others acting as role models, as symbols, as templates for how all people of that nature would act.  Which takes one specific instance and makes it into much more than it really is.  But that’s our experience.

It’s like saying the high chair you sat in as a baby is the only type of chair that is actually a a chair.  All other chair-like objects are something else entirely and all chairs that don’t conform to high chair standards and functionality are somehow broken, less than, unworthy, or can’t be trusted. That meaning that has been created is valid for the person who holds it, but it is limiting and it doesn’t allow them to experience the amazing benefits of a Lazyboy let alone cope with a bar stool that has a back and arms.  That must be a confusing situation for them and for the bartender as well.  🙂

As children we rely on the input of others to help us navigate our world.  And if we’re lucky the inputs we get help us open up and become and expand into a world full of beauty and adventure and possibilities.  But if that’s not the case, then before we can experience who we truly are, we need to strip it all down.  We need to stop, drop and roll.  We need to put out the fires we’ve become embroiled in so we can sort through all the meanings to find out what is us, what is someone else, what we can let go of and what we want to keep.  It may seem overwhelming, but the alternative is to live in a skin made up out of everyone else’s reality. Personally, wouldn’t you rather get to know your own?