True Identity … “Say What”?
My dearest Pauline,
After reading last week’s blog I felt really proud of you, as it was such a strong piece. However, now that it is my turn again to write, I become aware of this old pattern within myself. The fear of being insufficient, not being able to top that, of not being enough… Yes, I can already hear you thinking, “that’s absolutely rubbish”,… indeed it is.
“We’ve all been taught to create a “professional” identity to make sure we take our work seriously (or something in that order).”
As finding and creating my identity was quite the silver lining throughout my life, this really is something I like to analyse and dive deeper into. It’s a topic that kept me quite busy over the past week.
In our adult lives we create different shades of identity. We are mostly aware that the one we created in our professional lives, and the one we hold high in our personal surroundings, are different from each other. But most of us get stuck somewhere along the ride, because we become aware that none of these variations correspond to the one (identity) that’s hidden, somewhere under the surface. Which often leads to some form of “exhaustion”. Once we become aware that, somewhere underneath all these “artificially” created aspects of our identity, lies our true “I AM”… quite the quest can take flight. And there is no map … or is there?
During the past week I went out, having drinks with old friends, quite a lot. While I was in the city where I grew up, of course I bumped into acquaintances from my past. Bringing along reflections of the image that once “defined” me in social life, years ago. Of course old memories surfaced, and made me think of my own evolution.
This is hard to explain, but somehow I became aware of how the 0,5 version of me (because of only showing half) used to adapt like a chameleon to every possible environment just to blend in. To please others to feel good or for them to like me. Not that I have been dishonest in the past, except not so much towards myself, I just thought I had to live up to what I figured society would want me to be.
Another example of how society forms an idea of our identity, and for me a rather annoying one (and a little painful), was when I talked to someone I didn’t know personally, but who had heard of me. Again, I got confronted with how I was identified by my story. The story of being born different, and the whole process I had to conquer in becoming myself. Apparently, people tend to associate that part of my life’s story with who I am. I even heard him say “I could fall for something like that”, which all of a sudden made me into a subject — he even meant it as a compliment. (Told you I am an Alien.) Normally I would have made an effort in explaining that it’s only a part of what I had to go through in life. A part that doesn’t come close to defining me and everything that I stand for. But hey, I gave up, I just couldn’t find any sense in putting energy into an explanation. Because I think it’s no longer that important to prove who I am towards others.
Author Jan Geurtz, whom I got to know through you, divides “identity” into 5 layers:
- Being (our purest form of self, which we are born with)
- Negative believe (conditioned, from early age on)
- Basic rules
- Patterns in thinking, feeling, behavior
- Image (the identity we create in order to please and live up to our environment’s standards)
To quote a part of his explanation:
“The first layer of our identity, the negative believe, then becomes covered by a second layer. This consists of all the basic rules and conditions that we must fulfill in order to feel that we’re good and worthwhile. Fulfilling these conditions gains the love and approval of others and avoids rejection. The first rules that we learn are the usual conditions imposed in parenting: you mustn’t be naughty, you must do what you’re told, you mustn’t get angry,… Most of these rules continue to apply throughout your life, and new ones are added as the years go by.”
(source: “Addicted To Love” — Jan Geurtz, p. 26–27)
Finding our true identity and overcoming all those self destructive patterns, transforming them into healthy ones, is quite a tough cookie to crack. We all walk different paths, explore different methods that are out there. It’s important to know that those methods or paths are just tools to get there. There is no right or wrong path to take, no limit in timing, just dive into your inner feeling to know which one resonates the most with you. Don’t be afraid to make a crash landing every once in a while. Within time you’ll start to realize that no guru will show you the right way, but that the most precious answers lie exactly within those crash landings, as well as in your inner guiding that comes along.
The subject “identity”, for sure will come back now and again, and I could keep writing on and on about it… But for now, just be loving and kind towards yourself!
Cathy … almost in France ;-)
Hey Sister, are you curious about us? We are Cathy Kwanten & Pauline Siebers, and you can contact us at email@example.com