Identity Crisis – this is just me exploring on virtual ‘paper’ a few ideas that have been percolating in my mind recently, sorry it is quite a long ramble.
I read just yesterday it seems I am not the only one who is forgetting what day of the week it is. Very interesting to realise how many people feel they needed an extended holiday to re-charge their batteries (another example of be careful what you wish for), at a time when we probably have more leisure time from an ‘earn a living’ point of view – most of us are now identifying with a need to maintain a certain position in society, (which has probably always been a factor ever since society and community became a thing, ancient history). Our perception of ourselves is geared to this necessity to see ourselves as productive, useful and able to provide for ourselves and our families. Once this was moderated by the fact that it pretty much took all our time and energy just to provide the basics, and I am not suggesting a return to that situation would be a good thing, then came a time when we had leisure time, which we now seem to fill with other, ‘need to prove ourselves’ activities…. Competitive games, quizzes, challenging physical feats, the list is endless.
This perception of ourselves comes from various sources, our upbringing, interactions at school and work, we seem to admire someone who works hard, has a good work ethic, it is applauded and rewarded, ultimately this ‘conditioning’ may not be in our best interests. It has led to a society where academic achievements are prized over artistic and creative endeavours; and the funding in schools, colleges, universities and charities reflects that. Well as we are now discovering there is a lot to be said for arts and crafts.
Maybe it is time to ‘turn out’ the images we have of ourselves like going through your wardrobe, holding up or trying on your clothes to see which to keep and which to dispose of. When you find a dress at the back of the wardrobe that, either you don’t remember at all or you have no clue when it last saw the light of day, you have some decisions to make, hold it up, does it still fit? Does the style still suit you? Why did you buy it? Was it as a psychological tool in some office power game, or to attract attention….. are you still that needy person? Ask yourself honestly, ‘Is this really me?’ Do I wear this because it makes me feel the part? What ‘part’ is that I am playing? Is it something outmoded, out of date or really old and well worn, familiar and comfortable. Does the colour really suit me? Did it ever? Did I fall for flattery when I bought it, did some on say ‘Oh! That looks good on you’. They may have genuinely thought it did, at the time or maybe they just wanted to speed up the shopping so you could get to lunch or maybe they were just crowd pleasers, and even if the dress or role that you play did once fit, suit you and make you feel good; does it still do all of those things or is it time to pass the dress on? Maybe not, maybe it just needs a makeover and re-purposing, very trendy.
Am I defining myself by how others see me? Trying and not always succeeding to ‘live up’ to the expectations of others? Do I want to continue doing that? Do I have the courage to give that ‘role’ to someone else, pass on the baton, or do I want to take the best bits of that ‘garment’ or identity and re-define myself in a new version, re-purpose my skills and knowledge? Or… most drastic of all, can I just throw it away? Go totally naked and await what comes next? For a while I may be shivering in the cold with nothing to wear, am I going to look for something else in the wardrobe or in the shops? Am I going to shop alone or do I need some guidance, can I steal something from someone else’s wardrobe? How will I survive the chill until I find a new purpose until I re-define myself by what I wear or in this metaphor, ‘do’? Maybe it is time to sit naked in the warmth of the sun, allow myself to just ‘be’ at least for a little while. Maybe I can weave a new identity from the things I love to do, BE CREATIVE; BE STILL; BE AWARE. In every moment allow whatever is waiting to gently unfold. Can I find all that I need within myself? So many doubts surface, do I have the motivation, the will power, the tools? Is it OK to be floundering in the wilderness for a while?
How often do we allow our perception of ourselves to be wholly or partially influenced by the momentary ‘truths’ or the perception ‘snapshots’ of others, this was affirmed for me yesterday when I happened upon Miranda Hart’s ‘Chambles’ on Utube… very entertaining and also profound she was speaking about how we allow the judgement of others to colour our perception of ourselves… If you need more convincing check it out.