I also came across the sentence "Before you can be reborn you must die." recently which really stirred up some emotions. In a good way. I came across it on a silly/fun website, but just that line meant something to me. I want to hold onto it. The quote and the article I linked above really goes along with what I am dealing with right now.
I'm struggling. I'm struggling, suffering, and hurting every day. Some days are easy and some are incredibly difficult. Some days I really do feel like I am perfectly fine and content with my life. I am sure a lot of us could say the exact same thing.
It is one of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism that attachment to desire is what feeds suffering. Attachment is really what we need to escape from because attachment may bring years of pain and suffering.
My current struggle from February 27th, 2002 until the present has been trying to discover who I really am and also to learn to just be myself. Cliche. Maybe. But for many people, we have others constantly telling us who we are. When this happens during childhood, we aren't given the chance to fully develop our identity and certainly aren't encouraged to love our true selves. This kind of input and pressure from other people, especially our own family, can have a variety of results without ourselves.
For me it ultimately taught me to be an actor. To take the stage and play a role I was definitely not suited for. At first it seemed like no big deal, but years and years of playing the same side character in the play that is my life, it wears you down. Not only should I be playing the lead part, I was offered the lead part! It's just that everyone else convinced me I wasn't good enough and I took a side role.
I have little confidence in myself in many areas of my life. I have little value in myself as a person as I was raised in such a way that I believed that everyone else was more important than me. I believed that it was my job to do whatever it was possible to take care of other people, putting their needs before mine, and be as flexible as possible.
I was also told repeatedly growing up that I was inconsiderate and a lot of trouble. Selfish and worthless. As a result for me, I learned to show my appreciation by outdoing the other person. If someone gives me a gift of any kind, I have to get them something better. If someone does something nice for me, I have to repay them in a way that I think goes above what was done for me. I simply do not know how to show my appreciation otherwise with the deep fear and pain that I am coming off as an inconsiderate individual even when I really do hold appreciation. This leads to a lot of anxiety. Also, I simply do not know how to handle or accept compliments for similar reasons.
The feeling of worthlessness is caused by my inability to recognize or celebrate success. Growing up, success didn't bring any sort of reward that I could recognize. There was definitely a sense of "not good enough." At the same time, any failure and any mistake only became evidence to my worthlessness. I was a failure and mistakes were facts that proved that. Mistakes are simply devastating to me. Being human and given how no human is perfect, this mindset is incredibly unhealthy and extremely damaging.
Awareness is only a few steps that I have to make during my road to healing. I've made a lot of progress, but I still have quite a journey to go.
Lately I have been feeling stuck. Doubt has been sinking in and some days I want to turn back. Give up.
It's the fear of failing and the fear of the unknown. Change is difficult. Especially if you don't know what it will be like or if you will be able to succeed. I don't even know what it means to succeed. What it means to be good enough.
The article above made me realize that I am attached to my older identities. To my past. I recently went through a very emotional and powerful experience of forgiving myself for trying to kill myself so many years ago. It has been difficult. But it is hard to let go of so many things. To become the person I know I am, I must let go. I find myself in this awkward phase where I still do things that make me uncomfortable or seems "not me", but I continue because I have acted that way for so long. I am trying to play both the lead role and the side role in the play.
"Before you can be reborn you must die."
It isn't about forgetting who I was, but simply letting go. Letting go all of it.
Easier said than done.