What Does ‘Identity’ Mean?
If we are to live happy and fulfilled lives and run inspiring businesses, understanding our own identity is critical.
To clarify, by ‘identity’ I don’t mean surface level stuff or the assumptions you currently have of who you are. I mean your TRUE identity, the REAL YOU.
Without a deep grasp of what drives our thought processes or behaviour patterns, how can we ever design our environment to make the most of who we are?
Without clarity over our values, rules and needs how can we expect to know what (or who) makes energises us or pisses us off?
Where Does It Come From?
When we’re young kids, we act naturally. We have no filters or internalised guideposts as to how we are supposed to behave. We laugh when we feel like laughing and we run around naked, without a care as to how we are being perceived.
As we get older however, we become increasingly exposed to the rules and opinions of others.
We listen to our parents describing us to their friends. Our teachers give us daily feedback as to what we’re good at and how we interact with others. We get applauded or scolded for reasons we’re not yet sure why.
Very quickly we take these descriptions and rules onboard.
We don’t have to hear “Eric talks too much” many times before it transforms from someone’s biased opinion, into our reality.
At that age, we are yet to develop our own opinion or narrative of who we are. Why would we? We are taught to follow the guidance of adults unconditionally.
It is no wonder then that even at a tender age, it is the opinions of others that form our IDENTITY.
All of us -to some extent- still carry this adopted identity around. We wear it as if it’s our own, as if we created it: what we’re good at, what we’re crap at, what is right, what is wrong, how we should live our lives, how we should spend our money…
My request to you is, take a step back and analyse your own identity. Next time you feel pressure to perform, ask yourself where (or who) that pressure actually comes from.
Next time you judge someone for the way they behave, ask yourself who’s rules you’re basing those judgements on.
And next time you say the the words “I am…” be very conscious as to what comes next.