So it’s like this.
You exist in this fullness. When you are born, you are already full and complete and perfect. Everything is potential. So much possibility. No limits. It’s exhilarating and exciting and you’re unstoppable.
You have all this love and power and goodness in who you are and you’re already giving it the world already, just by existing, just by being who you are.
(Apparently you are shaped kind of like a paint can.)
There’s so much potential, waiting, inherent in who you are, so much energy. As you grow and learn, you’ll take those desires and develop them and release goodness into the world just by being you. It’s amazing. It’s beautiful.
First, though, you need to learn how to feed yourself, and walk, and stuff.
As you grow up, you’ll get important instructions from your caregivers, and from society, on how to do those necessary skills. That’s helpful.
Along with those instructions, though, you get a whole lot of messages that aren’t helpful. Information on what’s expected of you. Messages that you need to conform. Pressure to meet other people’s expectations and meet other people’s needs. Instructions on how to fit into predetermined roles. Threats about what will happen if you don’t prioritize according to some arbitrary set of values. Underlying all, the monotone drumbeat calling you to accept the system, adjust to the system, serve the system.
So on and so forth.
These messages seep into the beautiful fullness and potential that we all have. You can’t stop it. You don’t have the defenses.
It seeps in and seeps in and builds up and builds up and creates a layer of junk surrounding the full complete perfect being that you already were and still are.
It takes up a lot of room.
You have to get smaller.
And as you get smaller and smaller to make more room for the junk, all your potential, all your love and goodness and power and beauty, get squished in and pushed down. The real You is still all there (nothing can take away the real You), but it’s compressed.
The more junk gets in, the less room the real You has.
The less room that the real You gets, the harder it is for you to be you. The harder it is to find the energy and motivation and desire you used to have in excess. The less confident you become about what you can give to the world.
In fact, it can get so bad that you even forget the real You.
You might have so many layers of junk piled up on top of the real You, and the real You might be so compressed, so suffocated, that you might even forget there is a real You under there.
You start to think all those messages are your own voice.
You believe the goals and values and rules and expectations in that junk are yours. You’ll think they matter to you.
And you might even believe that the junk is all there is.
It can go so far, in fact, that you start to believe that all the junk is you.
When this happens (and it happens pretty often, maybe even to every single person, ever), the junk becomes your identity.
(A junk pile confused as an identity is often called an ego.)
You identify with the junk. You believe it’s yours. You believe it’s you. You believe you care about it. You believe that’s all there is to you. You live your life according to the values and messages and priorities and expectations floating around in that junk, and you imagine that you want nothing else, nothing more.
This false identity, which is nothing more than you putting a name tag on a pile of crap, becomes the only identity you remember.
That’s when things get really screwed up. But they don’t have to stay that way.