The Cloud of Self Perception

Written By: Amara Ahlfors

December 8, 2018

Motives, feelings and perspectives are a funny thing, they can act as sneaky and elusive companions. Having the potential to lead us far and away into the dark corners of self that we all try to hide, from those that we love and even from ourselves. The way that we view others in this world, has less to do with another’s personal value, but instead is widely impacted first, by what we believe about ourselves. We see this ripple of relationship with self that overflows from our hearts and works to drown those in its path, like the inviting ebb and flow of the oceans tide, with an undertow secretly hidden beneath its surface. I hunger for a time from childhood. A time when the curiosity and wonder of the world fueled immature passions and unrelenting questions. Where discovery was welcomed and where learning from others was invited with ease. Where fears and pride did not yet reign in my life.
For the past decade, I have had the opportunity to hold space in the trenches with people who have been hurt by those who should have been the most trusted in their lives. In a time where most would hope to find support and healing, these people have been abandoned and labeled, being blamed for abuse that destroyed their sense of self. I often feel that I am living in between two worlds. Exposed to life experiences that parallel my own, while belonging to a society that has built systems that prevent true trauma informed care. Here I get to interact with the justifications of those trying to make sense of chaos from both sides when the truth is that chaos is built to bring disorder. Survivors of such trauma relent to the idea that their experiences aren’t as bad as they are for others and that everyone else is more deserving of basic safety and love while those outside of relating trauma stories work to protect their hearts creating an ‘us vs. them’ mindset blinding themselves from the miracle that is resiliency in human kind.
To esteem others as better than myself, I cannot be the most important person in the broader story. I have to be willing to seek out strength and value in others as if it were food to my starving body, as if it were water to my dehydrated lips. I must begin knowing that my perceived beliefs start as twisted, impacted by biases that I am not even aware exist. The small slice of life that I am allowed to observe within another is only a fraction of the reality of the entire picture of who they are. If I have anxieties about my own value what makes my judgements of others that are built to puff me up, trustworthy in the least, if I am honest?
Consider what loss we may experience, if our entire lives are built up as a sacrifice to the god of ourselves. Consider the joy we are robbed of when we become too busy to pause and acknowledge the beauty before us in the words, actions and thoughts of those in our midst. What freedom could we find from irrational fears as they are forced to loose themselves and fall to the ground? To esteem others as better than ourselves, we engage in generational forms of healing. To esteem others as better than ourselves we find our rightful place in the broader story, living in freedom and peace, reclaiming the joy and adventure that was never meant to disappear.

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