“Who Are You?”
“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” -Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
In Alice in Wonderland the caterpillar asks Alice a very important question. As whirling smoke billows from his pipe he says, “Who are you?” Alice says she does not know. Since entering Wonderland she has changed so much, and she is confused as to how this has happened. She no longer knows who she is.
She has suddenly entered a world full of mystery and danger. One she must learn to navigate herself. As she meets the different characters and experiences their very strange ways, she is challenged to follow their ways or to find her own. When she is in the greatest danger (the Queen of Hearts threatens to cut off her head if she does not follow her every wish), Alice is able to challenge the queen.
The caterpillar reappears and asks her the same question as before: “Who are you?” This time, after all her trials, she states she knows who she is without question. She has discovered herself by realizing who she is not. She is unlike the characters she’s met in Wonderland; she has her own ways, beliefs and values. Finally, she is able to leave Wonderland. She could see clearly once she was able to believe in herself, rather than let her circumstances, fears or others to define her. Of course this story is a fairy tale, and Alice may come by the revelation of herself much easier than we may think possible.
When we face difficulties in life, we can sometimes lose a sense of who we are. We can believe we are the person a critical parent or spouse has made us out to be. We may have learned to define ourselves by what we don’t have, by our mistakes, or maybe by things that have happened to us. There are many experiences that happen in life that can lead us to a place where we no longer recognize who we are and our sense of self may seem limited. If you feel confused about where you are in your life please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services in Orlando today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with an experienced mental health counselor.