Tuesday, May 17, 2011

WHO IS 'ME'? Part One - Your Past

Take the Journey of Self-Understanding

Having an understanding of one’s self is vitally important in life. Before you can have healthy relationships, communicate successfully, or lead respectfully – you need to get a handle on who you really are. You need to be able to recognize how you will react to disappointment, what triggers your stress and why, and what your defense mechanisms are and where they originate from….just to name a few.
There is a big difference between saying things like, “I’m Christie,” or “I’m a mother,” or “I’m a doctor” and saying, “I am a woman who believes every person has infinite value and should be treated likewise; I naturally lean towards independence but believe deeply in community; I know that I am no better than any other; I am passionate about life and I want to maximize my contributions.”
Someone once said, “The concept you accept as true is the concept that controls you.” Who do know yourself to be? This will be the first of a three-part series that looks at your past, then your present, and finally your future in order to discover who “me” is!
Journey to Your Past  
 Work through these at your own pace
  • Where was I in my family’s birth order? (firstborn, middle , baby) And how did I feel about that?
  • Name something I am proud of from my elementary years. Name something I am proud of from my teen years.
  • State 3 childhood dreams. Do I still have any of these in some form?
  • What was I afraid of growing up? Am I still?
  • Who or what made me feel safe and loved as a kid? As a teen?
  • Who did I share my secrets, dreams, or hurts with as I was growing up?
  • What are 3 words I would use to describe myself as a child? As a teen?
  • Using my immediate family, how am I similar to each one and how am I different from each one?
  • Name 5 things within my family structure that impacted me the most growing up. How did they impact me then? How do they impact me now?
  • Name 5 things outside of my family structure that impacted me the most growing up. How did they impact me then? How do they impact me now?
  • What are 3-5 things I learned from my parents about how to love others? How to treat my spouse? How to raise my children?
  • Is there someone from my past that I haven’t forgiven? Why am I still angry? Why does it still hurt?
  • What did I learn from my dating years? What view of the opposite sex did I come away with from my teen years?
  • What are 2-4 inner vows I made to myself growing up? (“I will …”, “I’ll never …”, I am going to make sure …”)
Understanding the past, your history, is to appreciate how your story began and gain insight to why your story is unfolding like it is at this point. You did not choose where you were born or who you were born to or how others treated you. You cannot control circumstances or be responsible for other people’s choices, but you have complete control over who you choose to be and how you choose to live today. You are influenced by your history but you are not defined by it.
Write your story. Live out your dreams. Become who you want to be. Choose what you want your next chapter to look like and keep growing in your understanding of yourself.
One of the healthiest things I ever did was to process my past, forgive others that I had blamed for far too much, forgive those who made painful choices that I paid for, and choose to learn about myself through it. 
My question for you is this – do you understand your past and how it has impacted you?  
I’d love to hear what you discover about yourself - please share it with me.

Christie Lee Rayburn


  1. Thank you for guiding me on this journey. My past has made me vow never to repeat certain behaviors that I thank God I haven't and in many ways, has pushed me to rely harder on God. Unfortunately, I am better at the non-repetitious behaviors when it comes to mothering than being a wife. I am quick to react and often quite selfish, two traits that have carried over from childhood. I have a lot to learn about forgiveness, in spite of typically considering it one of my strengths. I realized that I haven't forgiven my mother for the physical and verbal abuse that was routine in my childhood, and yet I still yearn for a mom that I can trust with my secrets, fears, and desires. I'll often think I have forgiven her, yet find myself jokingly throwing little daggers to remind her of her actions...only it's not a joke. I don't want my past to define me and want desperately to forgive without need for an apology that will not happen. Any suggestions beyond prayer and extending grace? Thanks again. You are an inspiration! -Andrea

  2. You need to understand forgiveness as a gift to yourself - by forgiving her it does not negate the pain it has caused or the emptiness that still exists in your mother-daughter relationship. There will always be a little girl inside of you wanting to be close to her mother - but you are so insightful to realize that you are not defined by that little girl.
    At some point, when you are ready to extend forgiveness, you need to actually communicate that to her and let her know the pain it caused you. Share that you desire to be free from the past and you hope that the two of you might build a new relationship from this day forward.
    In the meantime, you work on building a friendship with another woman that you are able to trust with your secrets, fears, and desires.
    So proud of you for beginning your journey!