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Betty-Ann's Both Sides Blog

September 10, 2010

3 Tips for Shedding Your Identity

  1. Awareness
  2. Acceptance
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Native cultures believe that individuals are “original medicine,” and that if each of us brings forward our gifts, talents and resources, we can live with integrity.

These thoughts are expressed by Angeles Arrien in her book, “The Four-Fold Way,” as she encourages each of us to find our own voice to express our original ideas. Rather than editing or rehearsing, we need to remember our authentic purpose, she says.

This resonates with me as I have come to realize how much I depend on a good performance to form my identity. It makes me feel safe, provides comfort and, ultimately, pleasure. While I created my identity to ensure my safety, comfort and pleasure, it inhibits my ability to truly be myself – my “original medicine.”

Operating from our authentic self will make us far more attractive and we’ll have more energy. People can feel what is “real.” Going against your authentic self causes stress and anger – besides it’s a lot of work to keep being a false person! As Byron Katie says, “My job is to be me. Your job is to be you. It’s no more complicated than that.”

There are so many things that we use to establish our identity, such as: make-up (when we are afraid to have anyone see us without it); friends (say what works for my identity – don’t challenge me); story-telling (believe my personal myth about who I am).

Here’s three tips for shedding your identity and living with authenticity:

  1. Communicate clearly. Ask for what you want in a clear and concise manner, without blame or judgment. Share what you see and how you feel.
  2. Don’t compete or compare. Both actions create winners and losers and your uniqueness can’t be duplicated. Without these measures, how could you be anything but beautiful?
  3. Return to childhood. Remember the games you played, the things that made you laugh, and those that brought you joy. Take yourself back to them again.

By shedding our identity, or false self, we can live with the truth of our authentic self everyday. Doesn’t it feel good to know that you are one of a kind?