We humans do an odd thing with our wounded places sometimes. Despite our deep desire to stop hurting and to heal, we also have a tendency to hold our wounds so closely that become a key part of our identity.
It makes sense in many ways because our deepest wounds and greatest struggles often change us and our lives in big ways. We look back over our path of our history and can see these profound fault lines where our lives divide into before and after some broken place in our life's trajectory.
While it's a good and useful thing to mine these difficult times in our lives for the gold they can give us and to hold to the useful lessons and wisdom we've gained from the experience, when we allow those times to become part of our identity, we hold ourselves back from full healing without even realizing we are doing it.
Even when we see ourselves primarily as a survivor of some form of wound or brokenness or challenge, we are still clinging to what happened to us as something that defines us.
And it doesn't.
It may deeply shape us. It may have profoundly changed us. It may have completely rearranged and reoriented our lives. But there is still more to who each of us is than what happened to us.
Part of full and complete healing is to be able to let go of our identification with our wounded state to be able to see ourselves once again as more than the wound and more than the effect of that wound on us.
It means coming to a place we identify with the kintsugi gold of our healing rather than identifying with what happened to us.
For example, I have been divorced. There was a time when that fact loomed large in my identity and the way I saw myself.
These days, while I am aware that it is part of my history, it's something I seldom think about and has little or nothing to do with how I define myself.
I still deeply value some of the lessons I learned through that experience, including how to be more independent, the value of having a network of friendships, and an appreciation for my love of solitude, but the broken place that led to those lessons doesn't define me.
I see the gold without needing to hold to the brokenness that preceded that healing gold.
It takes time to get there, of course, but a key part of my healing was letting go of the identity of divorced person while holding onto the gold that I mined from the healing of that broken place. As I let go of seeing the divorce as a defining part of me, it was easier to remember that I am so much more than that.
There are many parts of who I am that were changed by that experience, and there are many parts of who I am that remained the same. I am greater than that one experience, no matter how much it affected me.
In laying down any need to identify with the brokenness itself, it made more space to appreciate the gold gained along the way and to value the many other parts of my life and experience that are greater than that one challenge.
No matter how profoundly and deeply the broken places in our lives change us, part of healing is learning to move past a definition of ourselves that limits us to that broken place. At some point, it has to involve setting ourselves free from that limiting definition so we can move forward with our golden gifts of healing into a life that is larger than that experience.
Where do you find yourself letting broken places in your life define you (even if it's as "a survivor of ________")?
How is that definition limiting you from seeing and appreciating all the other parts of who you are?
What would it look like in your life to hold tightly to the kintsugi gold of your healing while releasing any identification of the broken place that led to that gold?
Can you see the freedom in taking that step? How does that feel?
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