Second Chance to Live

Sharing Hope in the Face of Adversity — One Piece at a Time

Traumatic Brain Injury, Identity and Finding Peace

Posted by Second Chance to Live on March 4, 2013

Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to see that you decided to stop by to visit with me. Over the past several days I have been thinking about the concept of significance. As a traumatic brain injury survivor I have struggled to find my place of significance in the world. In my attempts to establish my significance I sought to define my meaning and purpose through the identity of a career, through my participation with various churches / groups / organizations and through what I achieved in my doing. Each of my efforts to find and establish my significance appeared to be thwarted by my traumatic brain injury and invisible disability.

But not everything was as it appeared to be. I discovered that there was so much more to me than what I could not accomplish because of my traumatic brain injury and invisible disability.

When I failed to establish my place of significance, I experienced disillusionment, despair and depression. My disillusionment, despair and depression continued for many years — as I struggled to find my place of significance and meaning. Through my struggle I reached a point in time when I surrendered to the notion that my significance could be secured or tied to a career, affiliation or achievement. As I surrendered to the notion that I needed to have my significance validated from outside of me – through a career, affiliation or achievement, I found a new freedom. My freedom helped me to realize that I could stop fighting against myself for what I could not accomplish.

“When I reached point in my life where I surrendered to the idea that I could find my significance through an identity, affiliation or achievement, I slowly stopped fighting against myself.” Craig J. Phillips

As I was able to stop fighting against myself I had a spiritual awakening. I realized that I no longer needed to have my significance defined for me. With my awareness. my focus slowly changed from an external need of approval to an internal sense of validation. With my awareness, my need to have a significance in life began to shift from a need to do to a need to be. With my awareness, my motivation began to shift from having to do, to needing to be. With my awareness, my definition of significance changed from a drive to do, to a need to create. With my awareness, my change of perspective helped me to realize that I could be satisfied by freely expressing myself creatively.

With my awareness and change of perspective, I discovered that I could express myself outside of the box of “significance”. In the process, I could define my own identify and significance.

What I have discovered through my process – and need to remember – is that I am the one who needs to define my identity and significance. As I plant with the seeds of my being, I am set free from the need to define my “identity” and “significance” inside the box. Because I no longer need to live inside the box of “significance” or “identity” as defined by other people, I am free celebrate my who and what I am able to create. As I create with my being, I capture my identity. My identity is revealed to me. Because I no longer need to live inside the box of “significance” or “identity”, I am free to create, while letting go of specific outcomes. By letting go of specific outcomes, I am free to plant seeds.

“Do not judge your day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson

Because significance no longer needs to be my goal, I am able to let go of my need to be significant. Significance, therefore no longer needs to be the bench mark to validate my worth or value. With my understanding I no longer need to be dependent upon a specific harvest or outcome to define my identity. By letting go of my need for significance, I no longer need to be invested in a specific harvests or outcomes to have my place of significance. By letting go of specific outcomes or harvests, I am able to accept that my being is simply enough. Through accepting that my being is enough, I am able to surrender to and trust the process. By trusting the process, I am able to cease from striving, and find peace.

“By letting go of the expectation to define my identity through doing, I am free to define my identity with my being. Consequently, I am able to focus on what I can do with my life, not on what I can not do because of my traumatic brain injury. By doing so, I find peace with myself.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA

“I am only one, but still I am one. I can not do everything, but still I can do something.” Helen Keller

“By surrendering to my process, I am able to cease from my striving because I no longer need to judge who I am. Because I realize that I no longer need to judge who I am, I am set free from a need to prove my significance.” Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA

”If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams and endeavor to live the life that you have imagined…you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau

“Insist on yourself, never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half-possession…Do that which is assigned to you, and you can not hope too much or dare too much.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the event that you would like to be in touch with me, please use my Contact Page. I look forward to hearing from you. All questions are good questions.

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All material presented on Second Chance to Live is copyright and cannot be, copied, reproduced, or distributed in any way without the express, written consent of Craig J. Phillips, MRC, BA Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC- ND

 

 

 

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