“What a liberation to realize that the ‘voice in my head’ is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.”
We all hold identities about ourselves, and these are the filters through which we view the world.
Say that being capable is part of how you define yourself. That means you’ll show up in situations with confidence, believing you’ll be able to accomplish whatever is needed.
The Prison of Identities
Some of our identities are not so supportive.
If you believe you’re inadequate or unworthy of love, you’ll live as if these ideas are true, and you’ll feel and act like you’re inherently deficient. Here are some other examples:
- You think of yourself as independent, so you don’t ask for help or share your needs with others,
- You’re supposed to have it all together, so you think you have to hide your vulnerable side,
- You think you need to be perfect, so the inner critic constantly bashes you to keep you in line,
- You need to prove yourself, so you run yourself ragged creating a positive self-image.
Identities are made up of programmed thought processes and emotions that we wear like a skin that’s way too tight. And living them is exhausting.
We take the vast magnificence of who we are that expands way beyond these made-up identities and squish it to fit inside an imaginary boundary.
It’s like we’ve put ourselves in prison with the key sitting there right next to us.
Out of Prison
Believing these identities is optional because they are not who you are. Whatever you believe about yourself—you don’t have to believe it.
Couldn’t you take a breath and open to the fullness of the moment rather than ruminate about your inadequacy? Couldn’t you turn toward the inner critic, put up your hand, and say a firm, “No thank you?”
These self-beliefs are so familiar that we assume they are true. We can’t see outside of them, and we think we’re doomed to suffer forever.
The invitation always is to bring the light of conscious awareness to your in-the-moment experience. Notice what stories about yourself that you’ve taken to be true.
Then take the shortcut route to happiness. Have a mind that doesn’t believe what it thinks. Turn away from all of these identities, and you’ll find that things—right here and right now—are just fine.
Your Natural Brilliance
Putting on a limited identity separates you from others and the world and mutes your brilliance.
Step out of this skin that you pretend is real, and meet life as it is—generous, benevolent, and totally in love with itself.
How do you define yourself? How does that self-definition affect you? What would happen if you stepped away from this identity?
Leave it in a heap on the floor, as you enter the world innocent, full of wonder, and not knowing anything.
Questions? Comments about leaving the prison of your identity? I’d love to hear… And if you’re reading by email, please click here to visit GailBrenner.com and to comment.
PS: I’ll be in London the week of May 22. If you’re around, please come to the meetup. I’d love to see you!