Where is our sense of self? And where does it change?
“Man can learn nothing except by going from the known to the unknown” — Claude Bernard
What is your identity?
Identities are born out of the ether of the unknown. The give us definition as contrasted and juxtaposed against the mist of the formless.
But like an ethereal mist, intertwined bundle of narratives can be just as difficult to grasp. They are formed at the deepest level of our being far before we are ever conscious of them: our socioeconomic status, a reputation for athleticism, praise for being the funny one or a quick thinker.
But sometimes identities can become cages. We form expectations around having to live up to a certain reputation. Or worse, we fall into a limiting belief around our identity. “I’m just a big guy, that’s just too I am.” “I’m just impatient…have always been that way.” “I’m just not good with people, that’s what everyone tells me.”
How would you complete the following statements?
“To most people I know I am the ______ one.”
“To myself, I am the _______ one.”
Regardless of what your statements may be, the brain relishes in these reinforcing loops. The subconscious mind loves nothing more than repetition and expectation. If we can expect to wake up day in and day out and be the awkward person or the outspoken person or the messy person, then we don’t have to brush up against the unknown.
But so often we do want to change these fundamental identities in order to spark our own evolution. And yet, we’re afraid of becoming a different person who people — or maybe our self — may not recognize.
“I’m afraid I’m going to look into the mirror and see a different person.”
The conundrum is that in order to bring true change into our lives, that’s exactly what needs to happen. And the fear is so natural. Because we have no idea how we’ll come out on the other side.
We must inevitably go back into the ether and emerge with a new contrast, a new juxtaposition relative to the world around us. We have to drop the chains — or golden ropes — of our own self-expectation in order to more meaningfully relate to our deepest self. But that’s where the richness of the aligned self is claimed.
And when we embark on this journey, we may one day look in the mirror and not fully recognize the person with staring at.
But we’ll still see flashes of that core essence, the ever intact self that endures through transformation. The self that sonorously answers I am…