Are You Having An Identity Crisis?

“Never mind searching for who you are. Search for the person you aspire to be.” — Robert Brault

Many people seem to have an identity crisis these days. We could blame social media, but that would remove accountability for one’s behaviors. Also, you can’t blame a tool which has no brain, nor is a living thing. It’s like hammering your finger instead of the nail and blaming it on the tool.

Who’s holding the hammer?

There are two rather prominent issues at hand:

  1. Self-diagnosing a mental illness and creating an identity around it
  2. Using a diagnosed mental illness as a crutch in order to feel validated

How many times have you or someone you know said, “I’m so ADD. I can’t concentrate on anything anymore.”

I swear, it’s almost every other person who identifies as having ADD! Every time I hear it, I want to shake them upside.

Do you not realize your own self-sabotage tactics?!

Are they clinically diagnosed from a doctor as having ADD? Or are they just saying that because it’s an easy label to slap on to divert any accountability for their laziness?

More often than not, it’s the latter. And therein lies the problem.

  1. The person doesn’t actually have ADD, but instead, deflects their laziness onto an illness they don’t actually have in order to fit into the “cool” ADD tribe and also avert any accountability for their own behaviors.
  2. The minute you label yourself anything, your brain takes it as truth. And if you continue to use the same label over and over again, it cements itself into your brain as a thought pattern. You then create an entire lifestyle and persona around this make-believe label.

And you’re telling me you don’t know why you feel so shitty?

C’mon! Examine the labels you use. You can choose to be your own best friend or your worst enemy. So often we make our lives incredibly difficult. When in reality, it’s not nearly as awful as we make it out to be.

Going back to the quote this week, do you define yourself based upon who you aspire to be? And if not, why not? Why continue to make your life harder than it is? If you’re not diagnosed with an emotional or mental illness, why on Earth would you think it’s a good idea to identify as such?!

“But Kira, it’s a figure of speech. It’s not like I mean it.”

Here’s the problem with this nonsensical argument that’s made in order to continue to use negative self-labeling.

  • Your brain doesn’t understand humor. It doesn’t understand sarcasm. It’s like expecting your MacBook to know you were just being sarcastic, when an app froze, by saying, “While you’re at it, why don’t you just stop working altogether!” It’ll take the self-label and mark it as truth.
  • Our culture loves to push the notion of heroism in suffering. And the amount of care and compassion you get is addictive, especially for those who weren’t hugged enough as kids. Whatever one gets out of creating false identities from negative self-labeling doesn’t even remotely come close to the damage they cause in the wiring of their own brain patterns.

If you truly understood how powerful your thoughts are, you would never utter another negative label or think another negative thought ever again.

Next time someone says, “I swear I have PTSD from it”, challenge them on it. Has a doctor diagnosed them with PTSD and if so, are they getting the support they need? Or perhaps, they graduated from Google University as an MD overnight, read some PTSD symptoms, self-diagnosed themselves, and now want to fit into the club?

More than likely, it’s the latter.

We must 100% hold each other accountable for these falsehoods, not only for the sake of ourselves, so we don’t have to hear them use labels for sympathy points. But also, we need to hold each other to a higher standard and challenge one another to reframe how they think about themselves. Why? Because the more people called out on their self-pity bullshit, the better our society becomes.

Help others to help yourself.

The 2nd prominent issue in the identity crisis we see today is the usage of a diagnosed mental/emotional illness as a crutch in order to feel validated.

Oh boy, “Woe is Me” is loud and fucking proud these days. Holy hell!

There are those, diagnostically labeled by doctors with a mental or emotional illness, who then choose to wear it like a badge. These people are tricky to deal with because their illness is very real. But the problem is they use it to gain attention. These are usually individuals who never felt heard in life. And you’ll notice the people who do this type of grandstanding are not:

  • seeking therapeutic help for their illness
  • taking any prescribed medications to alleviate the symptoms

Instead, they lay on the “woe is me” incredibly thick. Their sense of Self becomes the illness and vice versa. They only define themselves as the very thing someone diagnosed them with. And as such, it becomes a comfy crutch for them to lean on.

These individuals have created such an identity around the illness that they don’t know who they are without it. So should they seek treatment to alleviate the symptoms of the mental/emotional illness, then they lose their sense of Self. And it turns into a circular pattern of “woe is me”.

Bottom line is: these types of individuals don’t want to live without their illness. Its roots are too deep and thick for them to want to break free of. There’s a sense of belonging in this bubble they created for themselves. If a therapist burst their bubble and actually helped them, who on Earth will shower them with attention?!

If doctors have diagnosed you with ADD/depression and you are seeing a therapist and/or taking prescribed medication, you do have the right to share your frustrations about the illness. But those in this category are people who actually want to work on bettering themselves so the illness DOES NOT define them. And if these people are seeking ways to better themselves, they would then recognize how detrimental it is to create an identity around their illness.

More and more people are choosing to wallow in their mental/emotional illnesses for one goal: to feel wanted. After all, feeling loved and a sense of belonging are part of Maslo’s “Hierarchy of Needs”.

Humans NEED to feel like they matter. To have love and a sense of belonging, they will do ANYTHING to feel part of a community or tribe. Unfortunately, the “woe is me” tribe has increased its members tenfold.

I’m not buying it. And I find it boring.

Do something about your mental or emotional illness! Stop using it as an excuse as to why you can’t succeed in life.

Ask yourself: Do you want to live up to the labels you create? Or do you want to create ones that pull you down?

I didn’t talk until I was 4 years old. My mother always says she worried I’d end up a mute child.

Not that I couldn’t form words, but I lacked the desire to do so. I was born an observer and one who found peace in silence. I learned more about life by watching and listening.

To be honest, there was no room for a 3rd child in my family. My older siblings took up all the air in the room. My mother would threaten my sister with duct tape to get her to stop talking, hoping to create an opportunity for me to speak. The jabbering was incessant. My family told me I was “quiet and shy” all the time. They frowned upon it. It was a negative quality to possess.

Growing up, introversion wasn’t accepted in society. Only recently has it become a personality trait which is not “beat” out of people. Even in my corporate career, I was known to be on the quieter side.

Those labeled as “quiet” make others feel uncomfortable. But what those “others” do not understand is that talking makes us feel uncomfortable. Why is it that “introverted” individuals needed to conform into what culture wanted them to be?

I am more than a label.

Family, friends, teachers, etc.. all reinforced this label of “quiet”. It had a negative connation, which I, of course, absorbed. Labeling anyone, but especially children, has a PROFOUND impact on how they view themselves, positive or negative.

Growing up, the individuals in my environment consistently ridiculed me for being quiet and reserved. Because of this, I knew I had to change who I was to fit into society. My sister, for example, was extremely talkative, thereby getting most of the attention. They gave her positive reinforcement for being an “extrovert”.

So after high school, I consciously worked on changing my personality. My major in college was “Communications”. I forced myself to take public speaking courses and improv in school. I even joined a sorority.

When I graduated from college, I went straight into my 12 year sales career as an Account Executive, who presented to clients on a weekly basis. I was still known to be on the more reserved side, especially in sales. But I had changed myself from who I once was.

As a young child and all the way through until I left for California at 21, I felt bad about who I was because of how I was labeled. Can you imagine knowing as a child you had to change who you were in order to satisfy others?

Needless to say, I always felt my family looked down on me. They expected me to come up to their comfort zone in order to take part. But it was never enough. Those labeled as “quiet” make others feel uncomfortable. I harbored a lot of resentment for many years, constantly trying to prove them wrong, even though they didn’t care much.

In all honesty, I would dream about becoming an adult one day and escaping the shadow of judgement they cast upon me. And I finally grew up and moved 3,000 miles away to discover myself, away from the noise.

Labeling someone diminishes who they are. It’s an absolute, an all or nothing, which is incredibly short-sighted. One word can not even begin to be all-encompassing to describe an individual. Not only that, but words affect the brain. What you say to someone leaves a lasting mark, which that person has to be consciously aware of in order to keep it or destroy it. A label stops a person from being authentic.

People do not belong in buckets and categories. Allow yourself and others to be truly authentic, WITHOUT slapping a label on.

I am so much more than just a label. And so are you.

“Our thoughts are unseen hands shaping the people we meet. Whatever we truly think them to be, that’s what they’ll become for us.” — Richard Cowper

Did You Know?

Brain imaging shows that making positive, self-affirming choices activates reward centers in the brain?

  • We literally feel good when we’re confident. Being confident can also lead others to become more engaged and can make them feel more confident, too.
  • Don’t shy away or fear being overly confident. Anyone who says “you’re too positive” is simply deflecting their own wish to see the world like you do. Take it as a compliment and keep moving forward.

Would You Rather?

… live in a world where everyone ignores you or in a world where everyone is mean to you?

Both seem awful! What a horrible one to decide! After sitting with this and really taking the time to think about which one I could live with, I’d have to choose where everyone ignores me. It wouldn’t be too terrible as I could go as I please with no one caring who I am or what I’m doing. It’s almost like the ultimate freedom. (To be honest, it’s not too far off from how my childhood was.)

I don’t know how anyone could live in a world every single person they encounter is mean to them. The toll it would take on someone would be disastrous.

What’s interesting about this question is that both choices are about being alone. You’re alone if everyone ignores you. And you’re alone in this world if everyone is mean to you.

Which one would you choose and why?

Make Humor Great Again

This’ll never not be funny.

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