In my life, I have searched for many things. I have sought out love. I have tried to find peace. But more than anything, it seems like my life has been one constant search for clarity.
Who am I? What do I want? What happened to me? What have I forgotten? My mind has been constantly spinning in my attempts to make sense of my childhood and the after effects. I have researched abuse. I have researched the details of my past. I have looked into laws. I have called people from my past to get information. I have read article after article about my health and how it is tied to trauma. I even completed a Master’s degree in my search for answers.
I see it all around the world. Everyone is seeking the answers. Everyone wants clarity. They read and discuss and research and debate. They desperately search for a way to complete their story. They need a story and it needs to make sense. They need clarity. But they are missing something important. They don’t realize they already have the story. They don’t understand the clarity is already there. Why? They don’t want that clarity. That clarity makes them dive deep into their past trauma and address the pain of the past. Real clarity accesses their wisdom, their intuition. It doesn’t come from the mind.
But as a society, we are confused. We are looking for the wrong clarity. We are desperately searching for a story that allows us to fit with our surroundings. We want a convenient narrative that will help us to fit in. We want to fit in to a community, a set of rules, a pre-drawn box of what is expected from a human being on this planet. This is a story that lives in the mind. It doesn’t live in the body. It doesn’t live in the heart. It isn’t who we are. And we know that. It gives us that feeling of unease, a lack of peace, an inability to truly rest. We know something isn’t right. The convenient narrative is at odds with our clarity. We can’t have both.
But society has told us we must make our story fit. The human need for community has been redefined as the need to be like others. The human need for truth has been redefined as a convenient story, a story that makes others comfortable, that makes others accept us. So we walk a line between the desperate need for clarity and the need to find out where we belong. And here’s the inconvenient truth. We belong nowhere. And we belong everywhere. We will never match our story to one other person on this planet. We will never check all the boxes to make others accept us and be happy with us entirely. And that doesn’t matter. That isn’t what allows us to belong. We just do. We belong because we are human. We belong because we are different. So why don’t we get it? What stops us from finding the real clarity, the clarity that brings peace and stops our desperate seeking?
We fell for the conditional love lie in childhood. We grew up with people who were not capable of accepting our inconvenient truth. They didn’t want us to be who we were. They let us know we were not acceptable. But they also let us know that we were teetering on the edge of rejection. And for a child, that is terrifying. They told us to give them a convenient truth or we would be rejected. And rejection is the equivalent to death. This lie stayed with us in adulthood. It lives in our unconscious and tells us we cannot seek real clarity. Our only acceptable clarity comes by checking off the requirements of whatever box we want to fit. We believe authenticity will only result in death.
We are terrified of our inconvenient truth and what it means for us. Our clarity can only come when we let go of the past. And to let go of anything, we must feel. We must feel the grief and shame and fear and anger and futility of living a painful childhood. Why? Until we let go of the traumatic emotions we have stored in our systems, we can’t reach our truth. We can’t find out clarity. And that scares the hell out of us (or at least our defenders). These emotions were put away because they were impossible to process as a kid. And in adulthood, that still feels true. We believe our emotions will only result in death.
We are scared of what doesn’t make sense. To find our clarity, we must first trudge through the confusion. The path to our truth is lined with the muddy waters of our past. Our clarity requires us to prove ourselves wrong over and over and over again. We will sit in confusion as we try to re-wire our brains from years of brainwashing. We will struggle to know which thoughts are true only to discover most aren’t. This seems like a very bad idea after a childhood of confusion and unpredictability. We have spent years trying to create a list of rules we could live by. We had to create our rules to survive. And we believe throwing out the rules will only result in death.
So the next time you feel confusion, don’t choose the convenient tweak to your narrative. Don’t make everyone comfortable by checking the boxes off and fitting in to one of the appropriate societal categories. Sit with it. Let yourself be who you are. Look inward to find your truth, a truth that doesn’t conform to what society says it must. Let yourself reject the pressure to be convenient. What makes you inconvenient will make the difference in this convenient world.
Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW