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I was born in Korea, adopted, and raised in the USA. I experienced much of life feeling lost, believing that was "normal". It's all I knew. I survived by trying to fit into various groups and squeeze myself into relationships with people who felt familiar to my normal which depended on caring more about how others felt and perceived me, than myself. I've got first-hand experience in deconstructing a deeply embedded self-concept of being defective, too much, and needing to accommodate to rigid emotional comfort zones of others whom I desperately wanted to be close to, despite how smothering it was for my soul. Instead of a "survival of the fittest" it was a survival of the one who befriends others, even at my own detriment. This "tend-and-befriend" survival approach was of course, unconscious and so was the fear and pain I was defended against feeling - abandoned and unprotected in an uncertain world. Unfortunately, as this survival approach has carried on into my adult life, it's left me with what it was supposed to protect me from in the first place - feeling unprotected and without reliable support.
Life has presented me with many opportunities to turn inward and choose to integrate both my shadow and my light, and wholeheartedly reclaim myself. This process changes everything. It's a process that redefines what was once my "normal".
My inner life's boarding pass has often come via pain, and more pain just later, if I didn't aboard. I've had lessons taught through repetition, with life as a persistent teacher. My go-to toolbox for learning life's hardest lessons have included tons of therapy, books, blogs, and support groups. I was on a mission to "fix myself" because I was in... so. much. pain. I've collected a mini library of self-help/development books, all in the pursuit of healing myself. The indispensable ingredient to all these useful tools has been my support system. The deep friendships I've built over a long period of time, with lots of trial and error, has been a gift that all the books in the world couldn't make up for. I needed flesh and blood, to vulnerably interact with, and were safe enough, to bring the full weight of my humanness into the relationship. This does not mean it was conflict-free. On the contrary, at times it was quite messy. But the weirdest thing started happening. I was experiencing conflict and messiness as an invitation to heal an aspect within, and possibly grow closer together if the other took this on for themselves. But whether they did or didn't, I could choose for myself, to grow. Some friendships and relationships could hang with this, and others imploded or exploded, or just phased out. But it was the quality of these "Diamond in the rough" relationships which have been a powerful part of my story.
Along my journey I encountered the Enneagram. This powerful personality system and self-discovery tool has helped me understand myself on a level that goes beyond behavior. It also provides a map of integration and disintegration, so I can see where I am along my path. I discovered my path is that of the Enneatype 6.
I've found the philosophy of Emotional Empowerment to reclaim my intense and uncomfortable emotions from spiritual bypassing or other ways of disowning them, and instead, integrate their energy in an honoring way. These tools pair well together, the Enneagram and Emotional Empowerment. Tapping into uncomfortable emotions, trusting their wisdom, and seeing where I'm at on my unique map of growth ushers in clarity and efficiency that I welcome even though it may induce temporary pain. It's a healing and productive pain. And, I was never alone in the pain, which made all the difference in the world.
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