The vows we make
Are you one of those curious people with a thirst for knowledge? Taking courses, going to seminars, harvesting literature or information that help you advance your skills? You might be a “multipotentialite”. The term coined by Emily Wapnick aims to encapsulate those of us who have many passions.
In a society that focuses on specialization, on picking 1 career, 1 partner, 1 country to live in, being a “multipotentialite” can at times feel confusing.
If your way of being is not reflected by society’s norms then you might not fit in, and we often confuse not fitting in with not belonging.
There is a difference.
Once your core is strong, meaning you feel secure in who you are both the light and shadow aspects of yourself, you accept and express your vulnerabilities, can look at yourself with compassion and have a nurturing inner dialogue, fitting in becomes secondary, it’s situational not essential.
However, not belonging is painful because it means you cannot be you. It is filled with shame, guilt, duty and obligation. Brené Brown explains it beautifully:
“Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”
Human evolution depends on us bonding, finding common ground, having an everlasting tribe. That’s why we create unconscious “loyalty vows” to family, or others in our personal history, in order to ensure our survival.
Those “loyalty vows” can keep us stuck in an unwanted place.
They become our internal saboteurs.
They drown the voice of your intuition, your True Self.
By trying to fit in yet still feeling like you don’t belong you can be sure of 2 things:
1. Your Authentic or True Self doesn’t feel safe yet to come out
2. You have an opportunity to check what your “loyalty vows” are and consciously decide to transform them into something more attuned to your vision.
Let me give you an example:
A man who grew up as the eldest sibling in a household where there was domestic violence was told as a boy that he looked just like the abuser. The abuser when not under the influence of alcohol was caring and fun, when he drank, he was sadistic and violent.
The boy loved and hated his father.
The boy was also treated as the favourite child by the mother.
As the boy grows up, he keeps being told that he is the splitting image of his father and so he consciously decides not to be like him. He decides that he will not drink and therefore he will harness the caring and nurturing qualities of his father.
At the same time, and on a separate unconscious process he decides he doesn’t want to grow up.
You see, if he grows up, he will become his father – the abuser.
In this way he is still part of the family, fitting in, being the lovable son who looks like the handsome father, but he is sweet, innocent and unassuming. He vows his loyalty to the family by agreeing to arresting his development.
As you can imagine these decisions have had an impact on his life. He would self-sabotage when an opportunity for growth appeared, he chose an authoritarian partner with sadistic personality traits who would physically and emotional punish their offspring when he was not around. And when his son was coming of age, transitioning from boyhood to manhood, he found a reason to send him away. The son would later develop an addiction and turn into the man’s father.
If we don’t make the unconscious conscious, we end up repeating cycles and passing them on to the next generation.
Wouldn’t it be great to have clarity?
To understand why certain things might be happening in your life?
To gain tools to handle familiar situations differently?
That’s what this man thought, so he went into therapy at the tender age of 57. Luckily, the years harnessing caring and nurturing qualities had served him well too, because he was able to view his story with compassion and with some child-like curiosity.
Healing and owning his story, has given him a stronger sense of self. Life is still happening, but he has taken steps to make decisions in tune with his Authentic / True self. No longer bound to old “loyalty vows”, he does not need to fit in. He has changed his environment, living now in two countries, a no winters situation, learning new skills, enjoying life, and he feels he belongs.
So, whether you are a “multipotentialite”- with many passions – or just feel like you generally don’t fit in or don’t belong, there might be an underlying story that requires your attention.
You can join a community. Find a coach or therapist. Take a creative writing course. Whatever resonates with you to begin the process. You are also welcome to contact me, and we can together navigate the treasures of your story to reach clarity and a stronger sense of self.
Until next time,
Alexandra aka Lexie
M.A. IAP Psychotherapy