What is “identity”?

Pink FlowerIn reading and studying the book The Power of Now, I’ve realized a brutal truth: I have been identifying myself by my past pain, mostly from being a domestic violence survivor.

But is that who I really am?

The answer, of course, is no. No one can be classified as one thing, or even many things. We’re all too complex for that. I didn’t set out to identify myself as all this pain on purpose. It’s the only thing I’ve known how to do, until now.

What’s strange is that when I had this realization, I thought it would be difficult to let go. As I wrote about in my book, it felt impossible to let go of this pain and trauma, because it seemed like it was part of me. Even physically part of me.

It wasn’t difficult to let go — not at all. I brought myself into the present moment. I connected with my inner self. I took a few deep breaths, and I surrendered to all of that pain. Just as I had done while I was trauma therapy, and I spent hours grieving for the life I had lost, I surrendered to everything that was causing me pain.

In that surrender, I found a quiet space inside where I can feel peace beginning to take root. I’ve separated myself from that identification with past pain. I see it as something outside of my “self,” and I have no need for it anymore.

I don’t want to feel pain anymore. I don’t want to identify myself with past pain anymore.

I’ve surrendered to it, and now it’s gone.

But I remain.

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