A big part of figuring out who we are is figuring out who we are not.
We all have narratives running through our head, stories about who we are or who we would like to be. Some of these narratives are in our own voice, and some narratives are the voices of others.
Culture is a powerful force and it shapes who we are and how we act.
People like us, do things like this.
We have picked up these cultural narratives from our peers, our parents and teachers. We hear them on the news, read them online, they fill our social media feeds. All of these voices whispering what they think is important, all of these narratives trying to assert control over our perception of ourselves and how we function in the world.
It is difficult to separate our own voice and the creator of our own story from the cultural narrative. Difficult, but possible. That journey starts with deconstructing the narratives about what matters. We need to make a determination about what matters to us. We need to learn what we value, what we think is important.
"I am not" is a powerful place to start.
Facing a blank page is even more powerful.
When you remove all of the stories in your head (that's not really possible, but we can learn to see through them) what you are left with is a blank slate, open potentiality, an empty space waiting to be occupied.
- Write: List the common narratives that keep running through your head. They might be stories about your body, your relationship, your work.
- Contemplate: Whose voice is predominant in those narratives? Is it your own? Is it certain people? Who do critical voices sound like (maybe your father, mother, or partner)?
- Sit: Face that blank page. What story are you going to write with your presence and action?