Experiences and imperfections help to create who we are

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

— The thing I love most about writing this column each week is the belief I have that something on the page will resonate with someone in a way that will illuminate possibilities, inspire personal growth, challenge assumptions, and encourage people’s hearts. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and I am at peace with that, in fact, it is from my imperfections, experiences, and observations that I attempt to offer readers like you the best of where I am. What that means, to me, is that I am a perpetual student of life and I am ever-growing in the various dimensions of my personhood, and so, I am acutely aware that my thoughts and ideas, insight and perspective are uniquely connected to who and where I am at a given space in time. They are fluid, rather than fixed. As my experiences change and my consciousness heightens, my thoughts and ideas, insight and perspective will also.

So, I guess I want to invite you to consider your own experiences and the ways in which they shape what and how you see through your lenses. I think that sometimes we can become “set in our ways”, so to speak, and like a well planted old shrub, once the roots have grabbed ahold to the earth beneath it, we are difficult to uproot from that space where we have been so comfortable.

Many times, the deeply rooted beliefs that we carry come about as a result of what we have been taught in our upbringing. It is all we know and we accept it uncritically without regard for other truths. An example might be one’s religious beliefs. However, sometimes the deeply rooted beliefs come from our experiences with other people. How we experience our relationships to and with other people can leave residue, or what I call a residual effect. This has to do with what “truths” you walk away with from those interactions and how they play out in your life. This residue, what you take away, can alter what and how you see yourself, for good or for worse, thus, the residual effect.

In essence, our experiences with our parents, siblings, significant others, friends, teachers, and others can leave us with particular kinds of thoughts and ideas about who we are, what we can do, and who we can become. These thoughts and ideas can empower and uplift the human spirit and inspire dreams or they can burden and weaken the human spirit and kill dreams.

Maybe it is time for some “Roundup” in your life. Rather than trying not to believe the years of deeply rooted ideas you have about yourself and your capabilities, try planting new, better fitted thoughts and ideas about yourself and your capabilities all around until they grab ahold to the spirit within you and grow rendering all else as irrelevant. This is how you roundup or uproot all those things that do not align with what you have to say about you.

Change in our experiences results in change in our vision. We no longer see a self of deficits (what), we see more broadly and creatively (how) our perfect imperfections and we respond to our environment, to others, and to ourselves accordingly.

Be encouraged.

Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at ln_dunn@yahoo.com.