Recently a friend told me that his upcoming engagement had been called off. Understandably, he was feeling pretty down about the unfolding events. They were unable to meet on one particular issue which became the demise of the nuptials. In sharing this with me he said something that caught my attention and prompted this article. It went something like this; Yada, yada, yada, “that’s just who I am”.

That was a pretty significant statement, and one which I’m sure most us have made at one time or another. Once we state who we are, then we have effectively absolved ourselves from considering any change or adaptation. Throughout our lives we develop patterns which protect us from the idea that life didn’t go exactly according to our plan, which makes us inflexible to any other experience. I thought to myself, is it who we are or who we choose to be that defines us? It reminded me of a Billy Joel song called the “Angry Young Man”. I think the lyrics do a great job of explaining this phenomenon, so I included a few verses.

There’s a place in the world for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl
and he’s always at home with his back to the wall.
He’s proud of the scars and the battles he’s lost
He struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

Give a moment or two to the angry young man
With his foot in his mouth and his heart in his hand
He’s been stabbed in the back, he’s been misunderstood
It’s a comfort to know his intentions are good
He sits in a room with a lock on the door
with his maps and his medals laid out of the floor
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.

And there’s always a place for the angry young man
With his fist in the air and his head in the sand
He’s never been able to learn from mistakes
He can’t understand why his heart always breaks
His honor is pure, and his courage as well
he’s fair and he’s true, and he’s boring as hell
And he’ll go to his grave as an angry old man.

It is never about what happens; rather it is about our story about what happens that determines our response. There is also a direct relationship between the degree of flexibility in our structure (body) and the flexibility of our response. As far as my friend goes, who knows whether or not they were meant to be? I do know this; the body never lies and in this case the inflexibility I could feel in his spine was very apparent. My goal with each member of my practice is to help them gain a greater flexibility in their structure, so that they may more effectively adapt to the inevitable challenges and changes that come their way.


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