The shape we take in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood is the framework for the character in our story. It is our personality, our ego, and our character structure. Many of us get stuck believing that this is who we are. It is and it isn’t. Our ego is a part of us, just not the whole story. We find out in our relationships that the shape we put on doesn’t work quite right. Maybe it is problematic enough to build walls instead of connections. Hopefully, in our late teens and early twenties, we start trying to make adjustments.
To figure out our whole story and expand our character to fill up all the space that needs it, we need to follow the clues our ego provides us. This is a challenging endeavor. For some, our ego is working for us - or at least it seems to be. Unfortunately, in American culture, “working” means things that have little to do with a healthy self or a healthy contribution to our community. Wealth, independence, power, possessions, vacations, social media followers, looks, etc. None of these are intrinsically bad but none of them are real markers of meaning.
For others of us, our personality is a clear obstacle. We have trouble getting anywhere in life and the American dream of peace, prosperity, and freedom seems hopelessly out of reach. We are in conflict and faced with adversity at every turn. However, if we look under the surface of these stories at the ends of the spectrum, we will find that meaning is not associated with either one. And it can be there in both.
If we turn the echo chamber of our isolated stories into a new, shared narrative.
I write in a geeky, sciency, hopefully poetic way about belonging, storytelling, community building, deconstruction and construction,