Throughout life, we keep on learning about ourselves. When asked: Please can you introduce yourself? We reply by our gender, nationality, or occupation, but actually, our identity is far deeper than that. It combines our past, present and perception of the future.
Moving from Lebanon to the United Kindom seeking education wasn’t only awarded by a degree but by a new me. When I arrived at a new place, surrounded by new people with no expectations, it was a reset opportunity for me. I could be the girl that I want. I can experiment with things, test my comfort zone, and share my ideas, without fearing judgement. And guess what? I wasn’t that bad, people still liked me. Having this free space helped me find my voice. It gave me the opportunity to DARE to learn about myself. It helped me find myself.
Our Origin effect on our identity
Our society and culture definitely play an undeniable role in influencing our identity. Some ethics are universal but others are very cultural. For example, In several developing countries, the emphasis is on professional life and professional development. Therefore, young teenagers work hard to become engineers, lawyers, or doctors. After graduating, they sacrifice their life working hard to gain recognition and a title. It always feels like a continuous struggle to be THE BEST. People with a developed country of origin might be more laid back or relaxed in this area.
As Jean Jack Rousseau said: “Man is born free but everywhere is in chains.” At birth, we are like white paper. Then when life goes on that paper starts to get filled with ink. We start to learn social values and understand that there is some expectations from us. We get the traumas and perceptions of everyone around us and that is how we get moulded.
Fitting in or fear of loss and Identity masking
It is important for everyone to be loved and feel a sense of belonging even if the price is high. It is very common for a child to seek their parents’ approval. Plenty of movies talk about the guy, captain of the soccer team, who hates soccer but trains hard to make his dad proud. In addition, how many women pretend to be someone else to attract and maintain a man?
Our need to be loved or belong pushes us to change our identity in order to conform to the other person’s view of us. That’s not sustainable as with time as much as we will deviate from our identity, our discomfort will increase. If the faked identity doesn’t direct us towards our future perception, we will develop anger toward the other person. Blaming them for damaging our life. Though they are not the ones to be blamed, we sabotaged ourselves seeking approval.
Our Identity is what we want it to be
There is plenty of studies explaining the power of our brain. Whatever we tell ourselves, we start to believe it. If you convince yourself that you are weak, a victim and miserable that’s who you will become. It is amazing how much power our brain has. How many stories about people with a disability made great achievements such as Beethoven?
Siri Lindley has a nice story that proves the power of our brains. She was able to win the triathlon world championship by changing her story and overcoming her swimming disadvantage. She convinced herself that swimming won’t set her back and she will fight for the gold medal. When she was diagnosed with Leukaemia, Siri decided that this won’t be the end of her story. With a low chance of survival, Siri succeeded to become cancer free.
Everyone has a story to be proud of
Everyone has a story that is invisible to the eye. This story is full of ups and downs. In the shadows, you might have overcome several insecurities or fears. You pray and dream about things. You have your own taste, ideas and vision. All of those are layers below the surface that few are able to see. Definitely, you have a story of achievements that made you feel proud of yourself. As a person who believes that everyone was born for a reason. We all have a unique role to play on earth that no one can do but us. Knowing that everyone holds unique and valuable features, made me praise and admire everyone.
I would love you to share with us two of your most proud features. What can you share about yourself, beyond what we can see? I will start!
- My focus and determination: When all my surrounding was moving forward, my life was on pause. Life was closing its doors and I felt like deviating from my goal. Many gave me alternative options that I don’t like. I kept laser-focused on my goal, and I kept knocking on doors. It took me 5 years till finally one door gave me a chance.
- I am a woman who defeated social perspective and stayed respectfully true to herself. The Middle East is conservative similarly to many other cultures when it comes to women. Any liberal woman is considered a “bad person”, not to say the other word. I am supposed to follow a certain pre-designed path and have prescripted ethics. Well shame on me, I decided to go on a separate way. My priority goes to identifying myself and my professional path rather than finding a husband. Though I would love to have a partner with whom I can share life, but not on a mission to find one. I am not in a rush to bring kids into this world. I have many liberal and feminist ideas, and I believe that women are capable to do anything they set their minds to.
Our identity is identified by us, but many aspects influence it such as society. It goes deeper than our gender nationality or profession. It represents our past, present and perception of the future. We have the power to shape who we are, and it is important to stay true to ourselves. Everyone has a unique story and I would love it if you share it with us in the comment section below. May you introduce yourself?