I am delighted and honored to have Danielle Bernock as a guest on the Blog today. She writes her story about the struggles to know who you are, in spite of hurts in your past.
Know Who You Are
Do you know who you are? Do you know how you feel about things? Can you express your ideas, emotions, and weaknesses from a place of acceptance and peace? If you do know who you are, you have a tremendous power.
I grew up not knowing who I was. It sounds silly but let me explain.
I knew my name and who my parents were. You know, all that obvious stuff. I knew where I lived and went to school. All the information. But I had no connection to myself.
I was who they told me to be.
I didn’t ever feel I had the right to myself. I felt controlled. Like I always belonged to someone else. I was subservient.
Of course, as a child, I could never have told you that. Those are adult terms. All I knew was I felt like, I didn’t matter. I did not feel loved.
It only got worse as childhood traumas happened. The first one occurred when I was only six-years-old. Many followed and I felt detached. I had no idea what that meant as a child, but feelings of rejection and separation from God and my loved ones caused extreme loneliness.
I remember frequently imagining what it would be like to be someone else. Someone confident. Someone who mattered. Someone who was loved.
Something Was Missing
I wondered what life looked like from behind their eyes. Who were they? Who was I? What was their life like? I thought theirs was better somehow. I felt I was missing something but didn’t know what it was.
I felt less than everyone else.
I got lost in my inner pain with no clue how to get out when more traumatic events occurred. One was me witnessing my father’s sudden death. I detached myself more as I got involved in drugs, sex and eating disorders to mask the pain. I wasn’t talking to God. I blamed him for all of my troubles.
It wasn’t until I went on a six-week long road trip with a girlfriend that my life began to change. I still didn’t know who I was, but I gained a hope that maybe, just maybe I did matter. And maybe, just maybe I was loved.
The Struggle to Learn to Live Loved as I am
I got married a couple years after the epic road trip to an amazing man who knew who I was and loved me anyway. I didn’t understand that kind of love but I welcomed it. It changed me. I did my best to give it to our children, even though I still didn’t love myself much or know who I was.
I still had that subservient thing going on without having the word in my vocabulary.
I was still who they told me to be. Only now who they were was different.
I grew up under the children are to be seen and not heard mentality. I was taught (without using words) that asking questions was a sign of rebellion. Both of those things force an unhealthy obedience. I was unaware freedom was available.
New Found Freedom and Healing
Fast forward to my life now, and I see more and more how pivotal that road trip was. But it was just the beginning. It took the process of writing my book Emerging With Wings: A True Story of Lies, Pain, And The LOVE that Heals many years later to bring about the fullness of the inner healing I needed.
Before writing my book, I did gain some inner healing and wanted to share with others. I shared my “testimony” a few times at church and taught some Bible studies. I considered writing a book many times but felt inadequate. Until a day, like that pivotal day on my road trip where I made a life changing decision.
I decided to start, just start writing my story. It caused a depth of growth and healing I didn’t expect.
I knew it would conjure up all kinds of feelings so I secured a counselor. It took three tries and I almost gave up. I would have had not my loving husband nudged me to give it another try.
I’d been in counseling before and it didn’t produce a lot of positive results. The counselor helped a little, but it was like lighting a candle in my emotional prison cell and then leaving me there.
Still trapped being who they told me to be.
But this new counselor was different. She asked me questions no one else had ever asked and invited me to ask questions also. Her questions turned on a light and handed me a key to discovering who I am instead of who they have told me to be.
Questions are not signs of rebellion when you are seeking the truth. I was seeking the truth.
Questions are tools to explore and discover. I discovered the truth of who I am buried under lies I had believed.
I no longer believe the lie of who they say I am or should be. No. My life is mine. My choices are my responsibility. I am not defined by them.
Loved by God
So who do I think I am?
I am worthy of love. I am beloved.
The bible says God is Love. Jesus came to demonstrate love. The focus in the movie The Shack, that has many up in arms, is love.
Love is the answer but we fail to understand. Understanding the love that belongs to us, that we were created to enjoy and share is life changing. It will make you feel like flying.
Because of the euphoria of knowing this love I titled my book Emerging With Wings. Get yourself a copy and you can emerge too. You may find the book here.
Do you know who you are? Where do you find your identity and significance? Do you struggle with feeling loved due to past hurts? Share your struggles and insights in the comments section.
Danielle Bernock is a published author and member of Tribe Writers. Her first book Emerging With Wings: A True Story of Lies, Pain, And The LOVE that Heals (available worldwide) takes you on her journey of personal transformation. Her blog daniellebernock.com addresses issues of the heart encouraging readers to embrace their value and freedom.
© 2017, Rhonda Marie Stalb. All rights reserved.
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