Who are you really?
Recently, I wrote an article on self identity that focused on the concept of labels. The point of the article being: The labels we use to describe ourselves have a huge impact on our lives and very fragile psyches and, as such, we have to be very careful of our respective association to these labels. I want to expand on this a bit more, including suggestions on steps to take as you embark on your journey of reevaluating labels in hopes of providing some clarity and comfort. If you haven’t read the article yet, I suggest you check it out here before continuing on.
The action of loosening our attachment to, or even detaching completely from, our labels, forces us to reevaluate our friendships, ourselves, and our lives. Which can be pretty uncomfortable for first timers. And when I say pretty, I mean very uncomfortable. Unless you are some unusually woke, meditative pseudo human who has an impossibly relaxed and healthy view of the yourself and your position within the world- and if so, your name is Deepak Chopra, and I’m flattered you’re reading this.
This reevaluation of your labels has the ability to recalibrate your entire life structure because it begs the question, “Well if I am no longer this thing I associated my identity with for so long, then who am I?”
You know, that old chestnut.
However, the great thing about this question is, it inevitably leads you down the open road of self discovery. Which effectively is the most epic road trip you’ll ever embark on. This is where who you are has the ability to join forces with who you’d like to be for a life-long journey- complete with random outbursts of car singing, intimate discussions, story-telling… and it wouldn’t be a road trip without a few unnecessary bathroom pit stops, wrong turns, spilled chips down the uncleanable car seat crack, feelings of annoyance for no reason, and narrow run-ins with highway patrol. But that’s what makes it all the more exciting.
One of the early steps in discovering/creating your authentic self, as mentioned in my article, is to examine and detach from labels. Once you get past that initial stage of reframing your labels as things you do rather than things you are, it’s incredibly liberating. As you become less attached to the societally constructed labels you use to describe yourself, you become more accepting of inevitable change. You create a nurturing environment for personal evolution. Your value becomes based on things that cannot be taken from you. You are not defined by your circumstances. You are defined by whatever the hell you decide you want to be defined by. That’s where the true magic happens. Greatness is often paired with challenge and risk.
A good practice to get started is to take a few moments to think about the labels you use to describe yourself.
- Are they congruent with your authentic self (morals, values, desires)?
- Are they inhibiting you in some way?
- How might you add more variety?
- How might it feel to no longer associate yourself with certain labels? Uncomfortable? Liberating?
I encourage everyone to keep a journal of sorts, even if it’s simply a series of quick notes in your phone. The process of writing things down is a powerful tool that can facilitate clarity of thought, help gauge progress, and serve as a reminder of “the why,” in addition to, of course, creating a safe space for vulnerability, unfettered honesty, and emotional release.
After you have answered these questions to the degree you feel reasonably comfortable with, which may take hours, days, weeks, or years (remember- everyone’s timeline is different), take some time where you do not review. Just be.
Continue to “be” as long as you’d like. Yet keep it mind, that it’s often a good idea to challenge any beliefs you have periodically because as we grow and evolve, our values may change, our views may shift, and we may align with different labels than we did before. So again, whether this is something you decide to review in some allotted time frame (ie every year) or simply unplanned time frames when you feel your self and values might out of alignment, trust yourself and do that.
Only set things in stone if you want them to be.
Remember, change is a beautiful thing.