How Do You Define Your Identity?
“In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity” – Erik Erikson
Who are you?
Many young people struggle with the question of identity and it has affected how their life situations are being handled. For the most part, when you hear the question Who are you? by conditioning, you want to mention your name, what you do, where you hail from and all of the introductory gists there is, and for some very smart guys, they try to shoot their shot (more like selling themselves and giving the questioner an impression about them). This is absolutely great. However, your identity goes beyond this.
As humans, we are greatly conditioned by our environment, and a flavor of who we think we are come from what our environment has conformed us into. So, our actions, choices, values, beliefs, knowledge, and experiences spring from our environment.
The purest lens to look at yourself and draw your identity from is God. The reason being that he created you and He has the blueprint for your life and as such, the only person that can define you correctly. Just as a manufacturer knows best what he creates and explains it in the manual of the item manufactured, so also does God explain our lives and how to use it in the manual for living, the bible.
What defines you?
“When we repeat habits, they build up evidence of our desired identity, and sometimes, we let that define us”- James Clear
Because most of the time we are conditioned by our environment, we let society come up with a definition of us and we hold on to it as if our lives depend on it.
At the core of our beings, we have single words that reflect who we are, who we want to be, and the reason why we want to be that person. These words are called personal core values and they help you form boundaries and guide your decision.
What are you letting define you or become your identity? Is it a degree you got from one of the Ivy League schools, or it is your spouse/significant other, or is it your child(ren), your house, your car, or even, your church?
What happens to you when you lose them, do you lose yourself also?
The mindset that works
Attaching our identity to ephemeral things comes from a defaulted mindset that places a limitation on our growth.
From my January read, Atomic Habits, James Clear talked about how to break beliefs that hold us back. This belief is a thing of the mind and it can be changed. You can have a mindset shift.
“The tighter we cling to an identity, the tougher it becomes for us to grow beyond it” – James Clear
The more you let a single belief define you, the less capable you are of adapting when life challenges you. And that is why you see someone turn back on their faith because their Pastor behaved in some way.
One of the personal transformation pathways my coach, Debola Deji Kurunmi, teaches on is radical evolution. Radical evolution allows you to open up your mind to new ways of thinking, and not being rigid in your ideologies. It is how you can deconstruct a current level of thinking, behavior, emotion, and experience and elevate to a higher level of thinking. It is also how you see your life in an expandable form and having a world view higher than what you had before. This is the growth mindset and you should embrace it.
On a final note
Here is a quote from the Tao Te Ching encapsulates the idea perfectly:
Men are born soft and supple;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.
Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.
The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.
– Lao Tzu
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