Your identity is a peculiar thing.
It’s probably not something you think about a lot, because it just sort of sits in the background of your mind, slowly dictating the terms of your behavior.
Your identity gets formed from childhood experiences, and continues to guide you throughout each day. Your identity shows up in your habits, your goals and your fears.
But here’s the funny thing: your identity isn’t true. It’s just what you’ve decided to believe is true.
You aren’t a fixed, determined person. You are a collection of thoughts and experiences that has slowly become a pattern. The pattern is a comfort zone that you seldom leave, and so it protects and restricts you at the same time.
You will feel the pull of your identity every time you try to do something different or unusual.
When I was 26, I decided I wanted to travel outside Australia. I had lived my whole life in the cocoon of my culture, and I’d never seen anything except the world I’d been born into. I’d become bored with who I was, and I felt like fear was starting to dictate my behavior.
When I gathered up the courage to leave Australia, I traveled to Europe and something amazing happened to me. I suddenly felt fearless. I didn’t have anybody around me who knew me, or I thought would judge me. I just started to change my behavior.
I realized that my fear was coming from holding onto an old version of who I thought I was. As soon as was out of the environment where everyone knew me in a certain way, I was free to change in whatever way I wanted.
Remember this: Fear comes from holding onto an old version of who you are.
If you refuse to think of yourself as who you were yesterday, you are free to do whatever you feel like today.
I realize that life needs some semblance of normality and all of us have responsibilities. I don’t mean to say you should radically reinvent yourself constantly. But you don’t have to be who you think you are if you no longer want to be.
The next time you get the inkling that you want to try something different or unusual, and you will feel the pull of your identity telling you shouldn’t or you can’t. That’s when you know it’s time to challenge who you are.
Left to it’s own device, your identity will trick you into mediocrity.
Don’t be fooled by who you think you are.