Why we are the way we are

by | May 17, 2023 | 0 comments

I’ve always been obsessed with learning why humans are the way we are. It’s why I now know so much about why we are the way we are. πŸ˜† It started with that keen intuition, the noticing what other people didn’t, the sensing energies and alignment, the attention to detail. The thing that got me hurt a lot of times because when you’re someone who can see what people try to hide, someone who holds a mirror to what is painful to see… Hurt and unhealed people tend to first lash out at the mirror and the flashlight shining on their darkness.

And so I became further fueled into curiosity by the lack of being understood myself. In many ways, turning other people’s pain inward. Wondering what was wrong with me and why I had to be this way. I had to find some reason to justify who I was. A little bit of proof to say, “Hey I’m legitimate. I do belong in this world.”

I was vindicated in every test I took, from the “what Disney character are you?” type of online quizzes, to the DISC, Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, Human Design, Astrology… And every other type of measurement that confirmed what I already knew about myself, but was conditioned into doubting and fearing discarding.

(On a fun side note, it was one of those online myspace quizzes that showed me the engagement ring of my dreams, which I didn’t even know was an option at the time, and so it’s the ring I was given when that time came. πŸ˜‰)

This is probably one of the reasons why, when I started seeing a therapist who told me that all my feelings made sense, something I hadn’t heard before, I was willing to go all in on this healing and growing thing. Because I’d been waiting my whole life to be understood. To hear that there was a reason for me being the way I was. To find out that I made sense. And in the span of a year, I shed so many layers of fear and pain that I came out of that experience a completely different person. That is, more me than I’d ever been before.

A further fanning of the flames, igniting the passion that was always there, but now with a safety to explore and a freedom to pursue. It quickly became one of my core values. Understanding.

It’s why I can hold so much space for people to be who they are and say what they need to say. It’s why I’m not surprised by humans being human. It’s why, even when it bothers me or is uncomfortable, I seek until I understand what is behind every personality, behavior, lifestyle, and way of thinking. It’s why I can see so clearly how people came to be the way they are, and how, when they desire to, they can become something new.

And it’s also why I will not become a therapist, because while it is a needed field that aligns with a lot of people, pathologizing and licensing everything also puts so many limitations on truly understanding, connecting with, holding space for, supporting, and doing life alongside real humans.

What humans need is a safe space to come home to. To have food and shelter and security without working ourselves to death. To have family that loves unconditionally. Like actually unconditionally. Not the crap that passes for love in our society. Community that supports one another. Friends that do life alongside one another. Where no one is a burden because life is shared and the load is lifted together. Where there is space for rest and play and expression and vulnerability and art and music and healing and growth.

The more I see humans, the more I see how much we are all constantly living in survival mode. We go around hurting ourselves and other people, either knowingly or unknowingly, because of how much we have to carry all the time. Working to make money to eat food to survive. Taking care of kids to get to the end of the day to sleep to wake up and do it all again. Pursuing what we think will make life better in the future, often at the expense of right now. Or pursuing what we need right now, knowing it will hurt our future.

There are a lot of paths to understanding each other better, to healing ourselves and becoming more fully who we are, to making life better and more fulfilling and effortless. And there are actually a lot of ways to do that even in the midst of survival. Because heck, survival is something that drives us really well.

But to be honest, some of the biggest, most helpful change that will heal generations and take us from surviving to thriving can’t happen within our current global systems. And too many of us are too afraid to make the radical changes necessary for a lasting change. Because, let’s face it, in many ways it would require risking what little security we do have. Something many of us can’t afford to lose.

We need more space. In every way. Space to think about more than work or health or the budget or keeping kids alive. Space to breathe and rest and recover. Space to enjoy the moment and explore life. Space to be curious and play. Space to talk and listen. Space to stop. And space to go. Space to be who we are. And space to change who we are. Space to learn. Space to share. Space to paint and dance and sing. Space to laugh and cry and feel.

Space where all of those survival needs are met automatically as part of the systems we exist within. Not where keeping us busy trying to survive IS the system. Because ultimately that’s a big chunk of why we are the way we are. Cause we’re all just trying to survive the best way we know how, with whatever resources we have.

About the author
Ashley Newberg is a connected parenting and unchooling coach, a writer and speaker who teaches on relationship-based parenting, developmental trauma, natural family life, unschooling, and out-of-the-box living. She has been traveling around the US in an RV with her family and currently settled in Winter Haven, FL, where she enjoys creating a colorful life with her husband, three daughters, and two cats.

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