(... NOT WHO I BELIEVE I AM)
Previosly I described how we create a sense of personal identity, a "character within a story" that becomes who we believe ourselves to be. But who are we outside of our personal narratives? What might happen if we give up identifying with thoughts, feelings, and actions carried forward as story from past to present? Any step into the unknown likely will be associated with intense internal resistance from a variety of ego defenses that recoil from leaving behind what's familiar. And yet change cannot effectively happen without taking a risk and stepping out of the "comfort zone."
One way to proceed down such a path toward liberation from attachment to one's "story" is to sense inside and say hello to each responding element that arises in reaction to the prospect of letting go of ingrained ways of thinking, feeling, and reacting. Expect to find lots of fearful parts that are used to reacting against any perceived insecurity by employing strategies to protect, defend, or control. There will undoubtedly also appear parts that long for change to bring relief, reward, or renewal. In addition, don't be surprised to encounter critical/judgmental thoughts that complicate matters with their "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts."
By compassionately sensing into and following the thread of each responding part back to its source within your past, rigid patterns of defense and self criticism will begin to loosen up. Since this can bring up disturbing bodily sensations and feelings, it is wise to go slowly and reach out for plenty of emotional support from trusted friends and counselors.
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All 5 A's Discovering Life Before Death Discovering Wholenesss Identity Mission Statement Radical Acceptance Practice Redefine Life Expectancy Self Image Suffering Happens Thoughts-feelings Transcending-suffering