Do You Hide Behind a # Movement?

Joy Osaka-Lu
Do you need a # social movement to have your voice heard?

Having the courage to freely express your unique voice day to day reflects how much of “you” shows up, in a group, alone, or behind a hashtag.

Having your voice heard is another matter. It pivots on “who” is speaking and showing up.

I’m not referring to leveraging a celebrity or a media outlet to be heard but rather, using the truth of your identity as the force that makes people pay attention.

Harnessing your agency in life has the same resonance as what is abbreviated by hashtags.

Your life happens every day, organized events for # movements occur less often.

Why not effect change by just showing up as who you really are?

The power of # movements

There has been a lot of press about meaningful # movements in the past few years.

There are undeniable merits of collective movements that benefit from kindred spirits unified on a mission, regardless if you agree with their intended objective.

From this selective perspective, # movements represent:

  • a combined force that moves the world forward to solve issues that are to be too big for one person to manage on their own.
  • something that incites an unstoppable conviction in one’s heart, often with an undercurrent force, to hold someone or something accountable for a violation.

Movements represent the repossession of power that was taken by someone else.

Not having a hashtag

Like you, I had to learn how to find and embody the power of my identity because there were no organized # group movements to join.

These involved private, almost shameful, less violent elements than those front-of-mind today but were equally insidious to my well-being.

I mean, I don’t recall seeing any organized protests around:

  • Why do I give my power?
  • Why do I keep my opinions to myself?
  • Why doesn’t anyone hear what I say?
  • Why do I let money control what I can and can’t do?

Behind private “movements”

At the hidden root of these questions and many social movements is

Who or what is accountable for, directs, permits, and owns my “space.”

  • If someone doesn’t own this space completely, life becomes a subtle effort to manage the secret humiliation of being dominated.
  • If this state is prolonged, it can erase their identity and vitality, regardless of gender, race, or political affiliation.

And, that someone often is not you.

That is initially insulting but be honest, have you experienced what it feels like to be controlled?

The space where power and authority play out is “you”…the internal landscape where your identity and power reside.

The # of you

The questions of identity are prompted by the degree you are

  • seen and heard,
  • clear idea about what your personal agency in life is without the collective support of others,
  • own your power and authority.

To look at it another way, ask, “How much of “me” shows up everyday?”

How much of you shows up every day?

In life, how much of “you” occupies your “space”?

All of you, part of you, or none of you, meaning a false identity?

This is an important point because I find in working with people, not owning one’s full agency in the world at the subconscious, hidden level, begins to compromise personal integrity and power in order to “get along.”

It makes them unhappy, dominated, and paralyzed to change.

When someone’s identity is based on an external construct, everyday situations like work represent an innocent compromise to get along but, over time, results in the saturation point of a come-to-your-knees moment.

Being full of yourself and occupying your space fully doesn’t mean that you become stubborn or intolerant. At your essence, this behavior doesn’t even exist.

To understand what this means, I guide clients to reverse engineer neutrally back to the root cause, including why this is so hard to get to.

Who is showing up?

Social movements or personal breaking points present themselves as a turning point of I just can’t take it anymore.

It prompts the questions: What the heck is going on? Why is this happening to me? Why can’t I control or stop X from happening?

What’s really being asked is: Who is the Authority in my life? Who is driving, affecting, or controlling my life?

When (and to whom) do you give your power away on a hidden level?

To some extent, we all disperse and dilute our power in the spirit of “getting along” because we’re not often taught what true power looks like without domination, force, or manipulation.

Being forced to look at this aspect of ourselves is often crystallized in the I can’t take it any more moments but aren’t necessary to claim the authority in your life if you haven’t already done so.

Identifying your authority

What feeds your identity undertow affects the stability of your sense of well-being. It occurs at the deep, subconscious level but can be seen plainly by objectively considering these prompts.

It can be distilled down to what you need for a sense of value and meaning.

Option 1: The false identity: Where do you give your power away?

False Identity Symptoms: Judgement, Blame, Control

Most people use external definitions of identity and value and point to what they do or describe your relationship dynamics with the world.

This includes one’s occupation, job title, relationship status, religious affiliation, material and financial accumulation, or interests in their free time.

These are dependent on outside factors and in turn, make you vulnerable to factors that affect them.

It’s where you get hooked in life, pulled off course, and where time and energy is diverted away from living an unencumbered life.

These identifiers take up space away from who you are, at your essence. They diminish your power and authority, make you less effective in the world, less likely to be seen and heard in a way that is meaningful to you, and take more of your time and effort to get what you want.

Before your rational mind kicks in, what’s your first visceral reaction to:

  • Layoffs are imminent. Do you ask, Where am I going to get my next job? How am I going to pay my bills? How will I survive?
  • The financial markets tank. Do you think, Are the markets going to recover? How does this affect my 401(k)? Why can’t I just win the lottery?
  • Theft. Someone has just taken your work, your mail, your heart. Do feel, How could they? My soul has been violated and just been kicked in the gut.
  • A beloved dies. Assuming the common definition that you LOVE this person, do you think, What am I going to do? How can I go on?
  • Political polarity. Do you feel, Those guys are jerks…but that’s the way it is. What has the world come to? How can I affect personally change what those guys do besides turning the TV off?

A false identity is based in the deep, unseen level of ownership of something that is outside of us. They pivot on scarcity, lack, and fear which triggers visceral reactions to their loss or violation.

You may think that without a false identity, your life would be empty of material joys and people but it’s quite the opposite.

Option 2: True Identity: Who are you without external identifiers?

A true identity surpasses external definitions and is unaffected by whatever happens externally. This isn’t pretzel legged unicorns meditating but the sensible way you show up in the world.

It’s not about subtle forms of force either like psyching yourself out to perform stronger, develop popular leadership skills, or psychological hacks which really are distractions that require more time and effort on top of your busy day.

When you show up 100%, you operate without merging with what doesn’t belong to you.

A true identity is much more simple than that.

It’s commonly described as life purpose, your “why” in life, why you exist in the world but goes deeper than that because it’s the unseen, undertow of your identity.

It’s your North Star.

It’s the “who you are” that shows up in every task and in every relationship with people and “things,” like money and material accumulation.

It’s the you that is free of other people’s constructs of power and other hidden beliefs that filter what you can and can’t do.

A true identity doesn’t take you out of the world but lets more of you participate in it.

It’s what people pick up on the unspoken level regarding how to determine how much can they dominate you.

It allows you to operate in the world calmly, intelligently, and according to your unique integrity no matter what drama swirls around you.

It doesn’t require “doing” or “thinking” differently, like changing jobs, protecting yourself from vulnerability, or consciously presenting yourself as an authority.

It’s 100% you that leaves no room for anyone or anything in your space.

The benefits of an uncompromised identity

Power. You are a force of nature when unveiled and steadied by your original essence. Outwardly, this presents itself in confidence in every action in a way that people pay attention. Along with that visbility comes the permission for you to own and be accountable for your good actions.

More time and energy. When you’re not hooked by the undertow of external elements, you align authentically which liberates you to “take the right action.” Since it’s the embodiment of who you are, you don’t have to think about it…it runs on its own.

Knowing who you really are allows you do more without doing more.

Being seen or heard. One of the deepest needs in any group revolves around this. It remains unfulfilled because most people act and talk from a place of a false identity preventing their true thoughts and words to be shown. They miss the mark of addressing what truly matters in any given interaction.

This authenticity, at the unspoken level, opens up space for “you” to be heard because of the rarity of pure courage, confidence, power (without domination, force, or deceit) amongst the sea of false identities, without planning or exerting effort.

A sustainable sense of purpose and meaningful contribution. Your true identity eliminates unsavory behaviors such as political jockeying and self-preservation at the expense of others.

You operate in the world doing what you need to do in a way always uplifts and inspires those around you without having to try. It infuses everything you do in every interaction, no matter if you hate your job, how rocky a relationship is, or whether you get in the wrong line at the grocery store.

Neutral empathy. Without getting hooked or numbing out of situations, a true identity lets you calmly and clearly see what’s happening, at the undercurrent, so you efficiently act from a place of level integrity without merging and taking on the compromised power of others.

The big questions everyone asks at least once in their lives

Typically, these questions arise after a big life event like getting a divorce, being demoted, or facing a health scare.

What’s the purpose of my life? Do I have meaning in the tapestry of life? Where do I fit in? Do I fit in?

The short answer is: Yes, you matter. Your purpose is to live a true life every day.

The world needs YOU to show up 100%, your true self, without any hashtags so that you can operate fully and powerfully in the greater social context.

Living your life guided by your agency in the world, no matter how you spend your time or who’s around you, is exactly what is needed to move the world forward. Nothing more or complicated than that.

You are more powerful than you’re consciously aware of and can easily influence those around you in a mutually beneficial way…without compromising your integrity or forcing others to hear and see you.

Find your North Star and then live by it.

Read more about unwinding the false identity and power paradigm at

Joy Osaka-Lu

Written by

Life Purpose Coach aka North Star Guide and Educator for high performers whose achievemenets have become a synonym for life purpose:

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