The words ‘real identity’ means many different things to different people. True identity is upheld by the capacity to realize your life purpose and live it. Those who stray from their purpose lose their identity and later strive to assign meaning to their life.
To embrace our true identity we must rise above our known existence and associate with our core self. How you see yourself is often shaped by your early experiences in life. Understanding or gaining knowledge about one’s abilities, character, and feelings is the right step to take. This process should be guided, through self-questioning and examination of one’s own thoughts, words, and actions, to reach one’s own conclusions regarding who we truly are.
Whether you were adopted and are trying to find out more about your birth family, feel trapped and frustrated by the life you’ve built for yourself and want to figure out what it is you really want, or believe that your real identity exists in a completely mental or spiritual plane and seeking to learn more about what that means, answers to questions below will help you get started.
1. Who am I?
“Your soul is who you are. Your body and your mind are what you use to experience who you are in the Realm of the Relative.”
If I am not a Doctor, Lawyer, Pundit, Intelligentisa, Cognoscenti then who am I? Allow me to beguile you that a title does not make up your identity, it adds a layer to it. A relationship does not define you, it complements you – it draws out the best in you. If the relationship ends, it does not mean a part of you is lost. The relationship revealed aspects of your identity by adding a piece to the puzzle.
The perceived self is a facade owing to your past conditioning. Reflect on that for a moment. Who are you if not for the sum of your past? i.e. family, schooling, friends, and life experiences. Who is the person you call “I” after all?
Allow me to cite an example. Over a decade ago Kate formed an image of being a successful fashion designer working abroad. Her father was a tailor and her mother trained as a dressmaker. Meanwhile, she gained a B.A. in Fashion Design at university and fulfilled her dream to work in Europe before her realization. Yet the image of a successful designer was an identity she created to convince herself that a tailor’s daughter had made it big. Yet many years later when her father passed away, that image perished along with her. She abandoned the identity of the successful designer since it was not what she desired after all.
So we must venture beyond who we think we are to allow the authentic self to reflect our identity. We should step outside our comfort zone, to peer through an alternate reality if we wish to discover who we really are.
2. Why do we form an identity after all?
“Who we are is a story of our self – a constructed narrative that our brain creates.”
Erik Erikson, a developmental psychologist, proposed we undergo eight stages of psychosocial development throughout our life. In keeping with this understanding, make it a lasting priority to discover your essential self to avoid living an inauthentic life. Once realized, strive to live according to those values and principles by embodying them at the deepest level. Be wary of associating conduct with identity given its inaccurate measure of character. Behaviour is fluid and changes as you grow and evolve. At this level, your choices are in alignment with your true identity. You challenge long-held beliefs, by choosing to retain thoughts that resonate with your deepest self while discarding others. As your life circumstances change, you integrate those experiences into your identity.
3. What are your formed images?
“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”— Oscar Wilde
To strengthen one’s self-identity is commensurate with acting according to your formed image. Your self-esteem is reinforced when you uphold this image. As you look past inherited cultural identities e.g. tough, emotional, sensitive, brave, etc. you discover your own identity. Cultural identities diminish overtime while the authentic self is timeless and not bound by labels. The authentic self is often obscured beneath the veil of an imagined self which thrives due to the reinforced image of self.
4. What are your limitations?
Acknowledge your limitations while working within your perceived boundaries, by directing your attention towards your passions and interests. Let go of outdated beliefs to make room for actions that emanate from your authentic self. To discover one’s identity becomes a journey of self-exploration. You might venture from one extreme to the other while finding your true identity lies somewhere in between. Hence, once you have determined your values, abide by them. Whenever you violate your values, you weaken your sense of self. To discover your true identity, surrender your formed image of self to allow the authentic self to emerge. The authentic self cannot be weakened or destroyed since it remains the essence of your being at the core level.
5. Can you let go?
True identity is formed through self-awareness, by letting go of conditioned thoughts and beliefs.
Similarly, discard ideas, beliefs, and destructive emotions that no longer serve you. Transform them so your essential nature merges to replace the formed identity you give power to.
Once found, your true identity can never be lost since it has been present all along. It merely impersonates itself as the ego to help you find your place in the world.