Thursday, June 19, 2014

Unique and Special

In my last post, Bonding, I talked a little about how good boundaries are rooted in strong, steady relationships. And that without strong relationships and a safe place to land, it is hard or nearly impossible to keep good boundaries.

So this week I want to review a couple more basics from the same book, Boundaries (Cloud &Townsend, 1992). The terms separation and individuation simply refer to our need as humans to identify ourselves as separate from others. This experience takes place in childhood, but as we grow up through different life stages, it's important to continue identifying ourselves as separate from other people even while being a part of them. Let me try and explain.

The hatching phase of this process is the time when as a toddler you recognized, sometimes suddenly, that you and mommy were not the same person. It's the time when you started crawling away from mommy and towards new things in order to touch them and explore them more closely. This is the beginning of us seeing ourselves as our own unique person designed with a special plan and for a special purpose.

In the practicing phase, we felt invincible, that we could do anything with no bad consequences. Of course that's not true, but it's also important that toddlers learn for themselves the fun side of this phase.

Finally, there's the third phase, called rapprochement, where we learned that we can't do everything. It's like a reality check. The toddler comes back to a relationship with her mother, but comes back having had her own experiences and thoughts. And so essentially she comes back as her own person, not simply as an extension of her mother.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because as adults, we could be stuck in one of these areas even though we're all grown up. Sometimes peer groups can pull us back into one of these phases by making us feel that if we are not of the same mindset, we just won't fit in any more.

Sometimes we never fully separated from our parent or caregiver that raised us. It's hard to be your own person in this world. It seems to me that there are lots of voices on tv and the radio and the internet and other sources telling us what to be, how to act, what to think, what to look like, even what to like and not like. It's hard to be our own person. But if God would have wanted a world full of people who thought exactly alike, he would have created robots, not humans with the ability to think for ourselves.

You are unique and special and designed for a purpose. Don't let anyone tell you differently. You are allowed to think your own thoughts and have your own opinions and be your own person. That's exactly what you were created to do.

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