Identity - what does it mean? The dictionary defines it as "the fact of being who or what a person or thing is".
Mmm that kind of helps. But how do we know what we are?
This is a pretty big question.
So what is identity actually made up of?
When you're a kid (at least in the UK, and I'm assuming it's like this other countries too), there's an emphasis as you travel through school about what you want to be when you grow up? It was phrased as if this was to be a fixed thing, and I guess for previous generations it probably was - you'd be a bricklayer, or a dentist, or a journalist, and that was how you would be defined. I find this pretty strange because everyone would also have had the things that were important to them, like politics, or gardening, or poetry. Right now I'm sitting in Glasgow where there was a huge socialist movement and great tradition of education among its shipbuilders. But how many said - I'm a socialist first, and then a shipbuilder?
I do the same. I say, I'm a surveyor. It's an easy role to play. Instead I could say, I'm a photographer, or a healer, or a vegetable gardener. But I don't. I wonder why that is.
Granted I still spend more time doing my job. But it's more than that isn't it? What would it mean to start with the things we're passionate about? Am I ready to declare my true identity to the world?
Mmm there's a clue there too - so, for me, my true identity is what I'm passionate about. And because I care about those things in a different way from my job, they are more personal, and I'm therefore more protective of them. I think that might be the nub of it. Protection. We conceal our true passionate nature because we don't want to get hurt. This is probably based on very real experiences where our tender dreams have been stamped upon. But what's important about this is how we deal with that protection. It's completely ok to protect your passions from others who might be less than supportive. Just as long as you are not protecting yourself from those truths. Be really honest with yourself about these deep core things. It completely ok to be a bricklayer who loves ballet, a shipbuilder who's a socialist, a dentist who likes shamanism. How about being really truthful with yourself about those passions - where would that lead you?
When you are ready you can take the middle ground - hey I'm a surveyor, but I really love taking photos! How amazing would it be if we all started doing this! Then the world would be full of conversations about what we all really care about.
Now I feel that the first part of life was about learning to live by the rules, and this second part of life is learning to break those rules - to allow our true selves to surface and know the world can stand that truth too.
I wonder how the previous generations would deal with this now, if they were given the same opportunities we are being presented. Would they turn away from the collective identity of work. What would they do with their 'one precious life'?
So start small. Write a list of what you really love. Mine begins:
What about you? Tune in to what you truly are, and see what unfolds from there!
Angel lives in the UK and loves photography, snow, deep talking, reiki, shamanism, warm fires, friendship ..... love.