Who Deserves Credit For Who We Become?

Written by an iTherapy Provider

Who Deserves Credit For Who We Become?

This is a bit different from prior blogs, but it was something I have been pondering. Some of these questions have been bouncing around in my brain so I thought I would share them. There are a lot of different ideas that come to mind. When I think of everyone’s journey becoming who they are and who they will become then I look at my individual journey and wonder, “How did we get to who we are?”, Then I wonder, “Would I change anything?” I worked hard to get to where I am, though I am still in the process of becoming whatever that will end up being.  I have some mixed thoughts, that start with, “Of course I would remove anything painful or any harmful events.” Then the thought I had was, “Whom would I be without all my experiences?”.  It is a hard thing to wrap my head around the idea. The other thought that I have is about who or what gets credit for whom we become for better or worse?

I have had people say that they feel they need to give credit to the person who abused them because of who they have become. My response is always, “No, you don’t. They do not deserve any credit. You and only you deserve the credit for surviving and finding a way to thrive.” Those who abuse others never deserve credit for someone overcoming their abuse, because the abuser’s goal was to destroy, to break down that person. They deserve nothing from you. You can give your compassion to the wounded person they are or who they were before they became abusers, if you want to.  But in no way, do they deserve any credit.

Do we give credit to the awful things or tragic events that happen to us? I don’t believe we do. I have heard people say the same response to awful or tragic things that happen to them as people have said about their abusers. I really don’t feel you need to give credit to a natural disaster, to an illness, injury, trauma, anything causing you harm whether purposeful or accidental or any tragedy or loss. I have heard people thank their cancer, stroke or whatever may have been the fire that was lit and caused them to make changes.

This made me start to think about who then does deserve credit for who we are.  Do the teachers, healers, supporters that helped and encouraged us in our journey along the way and shared their wisdom, kindness, compassion and provided a glimpse of hope, deserve credit? Also, the people who gave us a hand up, and shared their light when we were surrounded by darkness? Then I thought maybe credit is not the appropriate response here but gratitude to those that assisted us on our journey.

But do we give gratitude to the awful things too?

So, what about those things that forced changes, made us look at life differently or pushed us to make needed changes? The things that moved us and made us grow and may have made us stronger and more resilient so we could overcome it? Maybe we don’t give them credit or gratitude but look at what they really are: barriers we needed to overcome or lessons to learn.  If there is a barrier in the road, we certainly wouldn’t give it credit and probably not gratitude. We really only think of barriers when they are blocking us or forcing us in a different direction.

So, I return to my original thought about who deserves credit for who we become? We make choices daily, so we certainly hold some responsibility for our choices unless we are in a situation where our choice is taken from us.  But assuming that is not the case, then the responsibility is ours and so should be the credit for the work we have done. How did we get here and become who we will be?  Even when we don’t have a choice at the time, most likely at some point we will have to make choices on where we go from there. We certainly will get the blame, if we waste our choices or our opportunities.  What we do with this and how we react to it, is on us.

All we can do is find a way through, over, or around those barriers. Accept help when offered and be present and kind to ourselves. My only conclusion is that we give credit to ourselves and gratitude to those that help us. But the barriers are just something in the road that we have to decide how to handle and to go on from there.  Give yourself the credit you deserve. You survived and you have found a way to heal and thrive or you are trying to find a way to heal and thrive. The credit is yours. All we really can do, is to keep moving forward, make choices and do our best. Be courageous, authentic and keep growing.

 Photo by Daniil Kuželev [Daniil Kuželev @kuzelevdaniil]

Original Post October 1, 2021 on Karen Gentilman’s website Illumination Counseling Service.

Karen Gentilman is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) practicing in the State of Idaho, working for 30 years with many different medical conditions both acute and chronic conditions, the last 20 years in neurological rehabilitation including brain injury, strokes and spinal cord injuries. She takes a trauma-informed, integrated and holistic approach with utilizing multiple modalities which is individually based while striving to provide compassionate therapeutic environment. Call (208) 266-4642 or email KarenGentilman@IlluminationCounselingService.com  to set up a FREE 15-minute consultation. Visit Karen Gentilman’s profile page.

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