Is Your Conditioned Identity Too Small For Who You Truly Are?

My doctor emailed me an interesting article – “Midlife is a Crossroads, not a Crisis” by Dr. Jim Manganiello and it could not have come at a better time!

Interestingly – midlife has nothing to do with age. It is the turmoil that usually enters into our consciousness as anxiety over who we are. According to Dr. Manganiello, some people enter this important stage at 30 others at 70. It is a psychological and spiritual time versus a biological one.

Many articles ago, a young woman shared with me that her entire life was a fake. On the outside everything looked perfect – wonderful husband, successful career, she was studying at the time as well, drove a nice car. Yet underneath it all she was unhappy with herself and felt that life was unfair to her as she felt the odds stack up against her based on the fact that she was black. This was of course her belief. We can argue. We can judge. But what she believed was true for her and I am sure it held her back.

l j smithIsn’t that what we do when we try to fit into spaces that a way too small to contain us? Rather than embrace ALL of who we are, we carefully cut parts off for fear that we would not be accepted into the club.

We literally and figuratively fight for our right to belong but we give this power to some entity out there without first accepting ourselves.

Think about ideas that surface for you. Things you would like to do – perhaps a different approach to an old challenge. Have you been contemplating a career change? Does everything feel like it no longer fits? This is not about setting new goals. This is about tuning into to how you really feel. Allowing yourself to feel discomfort and then asking yourself why.

Why am I not acting on this idea? Is it that I want validation BEFORE I execute? I want others to tell me that it’s a good idea so that I will know it’s a good idea? If I say out loud what I would really like to be doing, my husband/wife/close friends might laugh at me.

We are all waiting for permission, me included. But permission is not going to liberate us.

Taking action will.

We would like certainty, that if we do this, this will happen. I think to some extent goal-setting alongside social climbing has maimed us big time! There is more sameness and less individuality. No one wants to stand out.

Yet you might feel like me…that you never really belonged in the first place and that’s not necessarily an awful thing.

I read a wonderful post by Tobias van Schneider called Go Fu*&ing Do It! He was describing an article he wrote about his experience going 15 months without alcohol or coffee. The article took him 15 minutes to write. Since then, he shares, the article got translated into at least 10 languages. “My original article got picked up and published by news outlets such as Huffington Post, Quartz News, New York Observer and many more. Altogether, the article amounted for millions of views within just the first five days. The reactions and comments have been overwhelming, and just the last 2 days the article trended in Japan. Crazy.”

The reason he is sharing though is not to tell us how to achieve his success. It’s to remind us to ACT on our ideas. It’s not always going to perfect, proofread, approved or accepted but we must begin to respect that there is a reason this idea surfaced for us. Without knowing where it will lead we must take a leap of faith and do it!

There is no certainty.

Tobias shares that reality too: “Often the most researched pieces I write are the ones that no one reads. Often the projects I over think the most, are the ones no one cares about.

For every article that people enjoyed, there are ten more that no one enjoyed. The real question is: how many more unfinished ones are there? The worst thing I can do is not finish, not hit the publish button.”

Letting the world experience you for who you are matters. If you have an idea – write it down and then do something about it. The same goes for your side project, your design, your video concept, your business, your desire to change your career, go back to school, start playing a musical instrument, or whatever it might be.

Dr. Manganiello warns

If we resist change and rigidly hold on to our old self-image, we run the risk of living the second half of our lives confined to an identity that has trouble taking advantage of life’s deeper opportunities. We can then develop a kind of chronic dread about having to face growing old and inevitably having to die. This dread steals life’s bright colors and makes it something that we merely endure rather than live with any vibrancy or passion.

Remember this: Our deepest possibilities often emerge most clearly during times of psychological and spiritual confusion. You are at a crossroads. It’s time to take a step forward.

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2 thoughts on “Is Your Conditioned Identity Too Small For Who You Truly Are?

  1. This was a great reminder that we need to take action and stop just wishing and dreaming about a better life. Just do it!

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