I have a close friend who has dissociative identity disorder. She often talks about the other people who share her body and how difficult it can be to have so many contesting viewpoints, opinions, and preferences and only one body with which to express them.
Imagine the confusion she experiences, the scatteredness, the incredible lack of focus.
You may not have to imagine very much. For so many of us, mentally sound or otherwise, this is our reality as well.
Who were you as a child? As a teenager? As a college student? In your 20s, 30s, 40s, and so on? As a mother or father or spouse?
Each of these people is a separate entity complete with their own “story.” When we were these people we did silly, offensive, hurtful things. Perhaps we were funny or popular or downright abusive.
As long as those stories are kept alive, whether through reminiscence and longing for the good old days, or through guilt and distaste over who we were and what we did, all of those entities reside inside of us and weigh in on our daily activities.
How then do we integrate them? How do we become authentically who we are right now and let the others go?
We must acknowledge that each of them existed for a reason. Who we were at different stages of our life got us through said stage. We couldn’t possibly be where we are now without the choices we made in our past. It could not have played out any other way.
Acknowledge this service. Thank that part of yourself. Let them know you’re safe now. Their job is done. Allow them to rest. Love them for their contribution to your growth.
In so doing, you can bring all the little children back into the fold and begin the journey to a peaceful completeness of self.