When God created humans, Adam and Eve were secure in who they were, children of God, made in His image. As long as they continued talking to God and walking with Him in the garden, their identities were secure. Unfortunately, after they sinned, Adam and Eve forgot who they were. And they left the garden in search of an identity apart from God. God has formed us in such a way that there is nothing more essential to our life than connection. Every action someone takes is part of the deeper attempt to connect with other humans. Sadly, sin and shame separate us from one another.
Fear causes us to hide our real identity. Clients usually enter counseling with a narrative about themselves that is negative. There is a dark shadow that hangs over their view of self. A counselor’s goal is to help them rediscover their true identity. This process comes about as counselors help them identify and let go of old narratives that they hold on to about who they are. A new sense of self appears as a counselor reflects with them on present-moment experiences, allowing new experiences to surface. An increased view of self emerges as counselors reflect with clients on their efforts and successes at implementing new patterns of behavior that are not based in fear and shame.
Healthy attachment develops from two people affirming each other as they interact. Our true identity is shaped as we speak into who each other are instead of speaking into who we aren’t. We often listen to the internal and external voices from the past that say we aren’t loveable, aren’t good enough, or aren’t worthy. In order to embrace our true identity, we have to hear the truth of who we truly are and recognize how our actions are being dictated by who we think we are. What would it look like for each of us to live like the person we were truly created to be? Someone who is deeply loved, cared for, and worthy of connection.
By Carmen Eby LPCA, Trauma-informed