I’m sitting in a wharenui as I write this.
I’ve just been privileged to hear the whakapapa (genealogy) of my Carver Boy’s people.
I’ve been thinking about identity.
About knowing who you are.
About the strength of that.
Connection to self
We know today that connection is the panacea to so many huge problems: Depression. Addiction. Reducing recidivism rates.
That connection can come in many forms and on many levels: community, family, tribe.
One of those levels is connection to SELF.
For me and many indigenous people, we are incredibly fortunate to have a strong sense of identity and connection to self, culture, and history because of our whakapapa.
Many people, though, don’t have the good fortune to have generations of stories to help shape that knowing. Or maybe they have a good knowledge back a couple of generations but no further.
What I want to say is this: we each have the opportunity to develop connection with self. To build our own understanding of our identity.
Build knowing, then connection
Yes, that building can be based on culture. On family history.
But it can just as validly be based on an understanding of our own strengths. Our character. Our personality type, our passions.
It could be based on the pathway of our education and career.
Or it can be based on the journey of our scars, and the way those shape, strengthen, and refine us.
However you choose to build knowing and then connection to self, please do it.
Do it for you, for your children, for society.
Connection to self will fill the gaps we keep trying to fill with drugs or alcohol or food or sex or antisocial behaviour.
If we want to make the world a better place, if we want to make contributions of value, build connection.
And start on the inside.