Identity Crisis? Throw Out Your Business Cards.

I was recently having a discussion with a dear friend of mine. The usual conversation dips in and out of discussions of humanity, new science theories, truth (whatever that is), who we are, blah blah blah. Cool stuff.

And I had a HUGE personal discovery. One that I know so many people ‘suffer’ with, internally, without even knowing.

When I had this realization, it was like a tone of gravity had been lifted from my body, I felt lighter, freer… and strangely enough, more me (whoever me is…). So I hope in sharing this discovery, I can help many of my fellow brothers and sisters out there, who may also be having this internal battle, also be freed from their unconscious conditioning.

The crazy thing was… I didn’t know I was even having an internal battle until I had made the discovery. It was like winning the lotto without even knowing what the lotto was.

Only after having this discovery, did I see the numerous factors that shaped this internal unconscious battle. So in order for me to communicate this as clearly as possible with you, first I’ll share these few factors in brief!

 

6 Human Needs

Every human has six needs… Whilst we are all unique in the sense that we have our own experiences, conditioning, perceptions, personalities etc., we all have a nervous system that operates in the same way, and encoded into our nervous system are the 6 fundamental human needs.  All behavior, everything we do, is an attempt to meet these needs. (I’ll only discuss 2 in this article…)

We value these needs in different orders and the ways to meet these needs are unlimited.  As an easy example, one of the 6 human needs is certainty (comfort). One person could meet this need by unconsciously controlling everything in their life whilst another person could meet this need by surrendering control and adopting faith. While both are polar opposites, they both give that person the feeling of certainty, and comfort.

 

Like I’ve said in previous articles, every human also has the need to belong. This is the need for love/connection.  A simple way, most human’s meet this need is the obvious; relationships and sex but also by giving themselves a label.  (Either consciously or unconsciously).  A scientist will label themselves ‘scientist’ … And that will give them a sense of connection to other scientists, in their science-community, which will deeply meet their need for connection. Feeling that sense of belonging.

 

Labeling and identities was the subject of my realization… Once I recognized this, I saw SO many labels and identities, everywhere!

I saw, that when you’re in a new relationship, eventually you find that you want to label yourself as boyfriend and girlfriend, or partners, because the uncertainty you experience prior to this ‘labeling’ makes you uncomfortable and unsure if this relationship is secure. You find comfort (certainty) in the labeling, in the sense that the label boyfriend/girlfriend means he/she is more serious about that relationship then they were prior to the labeling.

Along with this label also comes a book of unwritten and unspoken, assumed set of rules. If you’re my ‘partner’ this means you do x, y & z and you’re not allowed to do a, b & c. Marriage is the same thing; husband and wife… there is NO difference to the human or the relationship when a couple gets married, it is simply a re-labeling and a new set of invisible rules.

Handy side note: By the way, this invisible, unspoken, unwritten set of assumed rules is why so many relationships go belly up… The challenge is, there are 7.2 billion different people on this earth, which means there are 7.2 billion different perceptions. Although we have the same foundational functions, we meet them ALL in different ways. So whilst a “girlfriend” may have a set of invisible assumed rules that she believes her “boyfriend” should follow… The “boyfriends” set of assumed rules of how a “boyfriend” should be, is guaranteed to be different to the “girlfriends”. I actually find it very humorous. Because when “boyfriend/girlfriend” doesn’t follow “boyfriends/girlfriends” unwritten, unspoken, assumed set of rules, they are horribly mortified! “How DARE you not follow my rules that you & I have never seen of, heard of or spoken of!” … Anyway, that’s an ENTIRELY different article… My tip: rather than jumping the gun, pointing the finger and blaming when something uncomfortable arises within YOU, observe your thoughts and observe your feelings… And I can almost guarantee, that the uncomfortable feeling you thought the other partner did/gave to you, was actually ALL created by you…

|| Hmmm stay tuned for an article on relationships… ||

Back to my OH-SO-DRAMATIC! identity crisis…

An artist has the identity label of, ‘Artist’. And along with ‘Artist’ comes a set of invisible rules. Likewise for ‘personal trainer’ or ‘business banker’ or ‘stay at home Mum’ or ‘chef’ etc… Each comes with an invisible set of rules. And each person has a set of rules, different to every other person.

Although some are very similar, e.g.: If I’m a bikie I should have a tattoo, or If I’m an artist I should to be fashionable, or if I’m a hippie I have to be vegetarian…. (This is where generalizations come into play… We generalist because there are MANY invisible assumed set of rules that are similar to each other’s.)

 

Now this is where it gets dramatic and juicy and I bare to you my inner most emotions and thoughts…

WOO! I love this bit…

For about a year now, I’ve felt like I didn’t ‘belong’…  anywhere specifically, though I wasn’t really troubled by it. However in certain social occasions, because I had this ‘unconscious’ sense of not belonging to any specific type of ‘community’ or not being a certain type of ‘person’, I’d find myself deliberately avoiding conversations and avoiding people, because I didn’t know who I was! I mean, I thought I knew who I was, but I couldn’t label it as something.

When I just started out ‘life coaching’ it was easy. I’d confidently say “Oh! I’m a life coach, and I do x, y, z ….” I had a label. And thus, a community of people I belonged too (love/connection) and a set of rules to follow (certainty/comfort) …

See where I’m going with this…?

So for quite some time now, I have been in search of a label so I could feel that sense of belonging… So I could have a community of people to relate to, and connect with. So I could have the ease and comfort of BEING and acting a certain way with this invisible set of rules this type of person comes with.

And I’ve been searching…

And searching…

And searching…

And searching a little more…

And I couldn’t find one.

**inset crowd sigh here**

 

When I had the realization, initially, I was like “Oh shit I’m no one. I’m nothing. I don’t belong anywhere. There is no one like me. I’m alien in this world. I won’t ever connect with anyone because there is NO one is like me. I don’t have a label… I don’t have a community… blah-blah, story, story, story.”

Then… the most amazing thing happened.

Minutes after my ‘sad-face’ moment above… I was overcome with this enormous sense of freedom and lightness.

I don’t have a label.

I don’t have a label!

This scary image of ‘not belonging anywhere’ turned into “belonging everywhere”.

Because I didn’t have a label, it meant I could be anyone, at any time and belong everywhere! I could be an artist today, I could be a business executive tomorrow, I could be a professional speaker on the weekend, I could be a science nerd on Wednesdays… I could be all of them all at once or none of them never. All this freedom to BE!

Why would I limit myself to being just one? I can be any one of them! At any time!

I realized that as a species, we find SO much comfort in this labeling and how detrimental it can be to our experience of life.  How it limits us from other possibilities, how it isolates you from the rest of humanity. I could see in my past how many potentially beautiful conversations I’d missed out on, because of this invisible labeling and set of rules, because my identity didn’t match there’s.

I went from searching for groups of people who were like me to feel that sense of ‘belonging’, to realizing I have a community of 7.2 billion people, and I belong everywhere.

 

Not only have I now surrendered the need to find an identity or label that defined me as a person, I also surrendered the need to have a label at all. I found so much comfort, in my discomfort.

I don’t have to follow an invisible set of rules, I am my own person, and I don’t need ‘rules’.

My Lexi Bishop “Director of XYZ” and “Writer or XYZ” business cards are in the bin.

My next set will say “Lexi Bishop – Human Being”

 

~~

 

What are your roles/labels/identities?

Do they serve you?

Is that really who you want to be?

 

 

 

 

 

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  • This is so good Lexi!!!
    The people I meet on a daily basis have this protective shell, of who they want to be and who they want other people to see them as. They act a certain way to try and fit into a group or feel like they belong. As you have said, its until we have enough courage to let go of the ‘shell’ and realise we are infinite and are all a community in this together.

  • Thank you Lexi great words! I certainly have felt this in the past and can’t even find my business cards anywhere, I think they are in the bottom of my draw now. I think after looking at the words ” Manager ” long enough, was so baron to me. It made me feel restricted as a person and it just didn’t feel like me!

  • Hi Lexi. This is Omkar. I came across your post via my searchoflife page on instagram. I followed your posts there for a while and was looking forward to read your blog here. And I am loving these more extensive insights here. Have been through a couple of posts. Reading this is both engaging as a reader and stimulating from the perspective of another thinker. So let me try to elaborate the thoughts your post sparked in me.

    To ‘generalize’ we do tend to grip onto things which are tangible or material in some sense, maybe physical or definitive as per the pre-existing ideas laid by the society. We find comfort in those as they promise a sort of security or safety which may just be an illusory one but promises some naive sort of certainty.

    So these certainty and connection seeking traits could be attributed to our desire to find ‘meaning’ or a conceivable definition of and for ourselves. Such behavior is more dominant in social groups as opposed to individuals who seek their own paths and find significance in detachment, be it sages or anyone like you or me.

    But then again, as ones not restricting themselves to narrow views, pre-established definitions or labels we find ‘meaning’ in the undefined, in the intangible or in the nothingness.

    What I am trying to say is, just like any socially conditioned person finds meaning or comfort in these predefined norms, a sage or a freethinker finds similar sort of connections with rather intangible objects or the undefinable elements. So we all in a way are the same, be it the stuck up business banker clinging to his position or the free liberated soul seeking purpose in the wilderness.

    I think I am just repeating what you said, which is, all of us share this behavior but we each have our own ways to meet these needs and there are unlimited ways of doing so, some definitely better and more liberating. And this is where the similarities between a label clingy modern day professional and an open-minded free-thinker/thought leader end.

    Though the basic needs (the two which you listed; also looking forward to read about the other 4 human needs) are the same, in the case of the latter, the means to accomplish them are more central and liberating to the being, in terms of spiritual, emotional and intellectual growth, which when used efficiently can benefit the progress of the society as whole than any commonly established business/industry churning labelled specimens can or is currently.

    So, as conditioned we are from an early age, by families, institutions-schools, colleges, organizations, our views grow narrower as we begin to see through the same narrow lens with which we are seen and judged, and so when we begin to move away from these patterns, which are now deeply ingrained into our mind, these exhilarating experiences of sensing this beautiful sort of freedom of unbelongingness, not being able to fit into a type of person, or connect to a particular community, becomes more unnerving and makes us uncomfortable as it contradicts with our ‘normal’ thought patterns that we have acquainted ourselves with over the years.

    Now that I look back after reading your experience with this transition (from one specific thing to nothing to everything ) I too have found myself reach that state and shockingly feel thoroughly content with not belonging and not being a stereotypically programmed persona. Though that sort revelation was not enough to make any social occasion more comfortable, where I just found myself more alien, idling around most of the time, wondering, not talking, but keenly observing this narrowly constructed characters like out of a play, playing their roles diligently, unquestioningly and thoughtlessly.

    I would think, “What exactly could I speak about?”, just the small sweet talk filled with pleasantries? and sharing my extremely contrasting views to their way of life, would be like discussing the skies to a fish. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense. Only trying to highlight the wide spectrum of beings we are and yet such shortsightedness prevents us from seeking new experiences and interacting with new people.

    I guess these situations do get better with time as we accommodate ourselves with our new identities or lack thereof and we start accepting things as they are, instead of imitating others through social cues and just flowing like water.

    So I may still be a bit far from reaching the point of throwing my business card away, for which I would have to construct my living around the thoughts and ideas of life I believe in, which may take some time. (and maybe by that time we also might have formless free spirited cards :P)

    But yes, I am glad to do away with the limiting set of rules, which we find ourselves sticking to, which in the case of relationships, not only hinder the understanding between the two people but also obstruct the natural growth of this bond present between two people.

    And to grow individually as a free spirit, we must shed our own skin every now and then, and do away with old definitions and form new ones which adapt and evolve as we grow, or instead even better, be formless like water (insert Bruce Lee’s voiceover here)

  • Hi Lexi. I came across your post via my searchoflife page on instagram. I have been following your posts on instagram for a while and was looking forward to read your blog. And I am loving these extensive insights even more. Have been through a couple of posts. Reading this is both engaging as a reader and stimulating from the perspective of another thinker. So let me try to elaborate the thoughts your post sparked in me.

    To ‘generalize’ we do tend to grip onto things which are tangible or material in some sense, maybe physical or definitive as per the pre-existing ideas laid by the society. We find comfort in those as they promise a sort of security or safety which may just be an illusory one but promises some naive sort of certainty.

    So these certainty and connection seeking traits could be attributed to our desire to find ‘meaning’ or a conceivable definition of and for ourselves. Such behavior is more dominant in social groups as opposed to individuals who seek their own paths and find significance in detachment, be it sages or anyone like you or me.
    But then again, as ones not restricting themselves to narrow views, pre-established definitions or labels we find ‘meaning’ in the undefined, in the intangible or in the nothingness.

    What I am trying to say is, just like any socially conditioned person finds meaning or comfort in these predefined norms, a sage or a freethinker finds similar sort of connections with rather intangible objects or the undefinable elements. So we all in a way are the same, be it the stuck up business banker clinging to his position or the free liberated soul seeking purpose in the wilderness.

    I think I am just repeating what you said, which is, all of us share this behavior but we each have our own ways to meet these needs and there are unlimited ways of doing so, some definitely better and more liberating. And this is where the similarities between a label clingy modern day professional and an open-minded free-thinker/thought leader end.

    Though the basic needs (the two which you listed; also looking forward to read about the other 4 human needs) are the same, in the case of the latter, the means to accomplish them are more central and liberating to the being, in terms of spiritual, emotional and intellectual growth, which when used efficiently can benefit the progress of the society as whole than any commonly established business/industry churning labelled specimens can or is currently.

    So, as conditioned we are from an early age, by families, institutions-schools, colleges, organizations, our views grow narrower as we begin to see through the same narrow lens with which we are seen and judged, and so when we begin to move away from these patterns, which are now deeply ingrained into our mind, these exhilarating experiences of sensing this beautiful sort of freedom of unbelongingness, not being able to fit into a type of person, or connect to a particular community, becomes more unnerving and makes us uncomfortable as it contradicts with our ‘normal’ thought patterns that we have acquainted ourselves with over the years.

    Now that I look back after reading your experience with this transition (from one specific thing to nothing to everything ) I too have found myself reach that state and shockingly feel thoroughly content with not belonging and not being a stereotypically programmed persona. Though that sort revelation was not enough to make any social occasion more comfortable, where I just found myself more alien, idling around most of the time, wondering, not talking, but keenly observing this narrowly constructed characters like out of a play, playing their roles diligently, unquestioningly and thoughtlessly.

    I would think, “What exactly could I speak about?”, just the small sweet talk filled with pleasantries? and sharing my extremely contrasting views to their way of life, would be like discussing the skies to a fish. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense. Only trying to highlight the wide spectrum of beings we are and yet such shortsightedness prevents us from seeking new experiences and interacting with new people.

    I guess these situations do get better with time as we accommodate ourselves with our new identities or lack thereof and we start accepting things as they are, instead of imitating others through social cues and just flowing like water.

    So I may still be a bit far from reaching the point of throwing my business card away, for which I would have to construct my living around the thoughts and ideas of life I believe in, which may take some time. (and maybe by that time we would have some formless free spirited angel cards :P)

    But yes, I am glad to do away with the limiting set of rules, which we find ourselves sticking to, which in the case of relationships, not only hinder the understanding between the two people but also obstruct the natural growth of this bond present between two people.

    And to grow individually as a free spirit, we must shed our own skin every now and then, and do away with old definitions and form new ones which adapt and evolve as we grow, or instead even better, be formless like water (insert Bruce Lee’s voiceover here)

  • Thank you Lexi, yeh someone who writes and thinks the thoughts that I have struggled with for years. I have avoided like you said conversations with people simply because when people ask what I do I say I am a fulltime mum, people turn off. This hurt for a long time, now I own it cause even though being a mum is remarkable and I am blessed, I am a human being, a teacher, a landscaper, a dance instructor, a student, a loving partner, and and and, and each day I get to decide which hat I want to wear. THANKS SO MUCH from the heart, you rock beautiful girl,
    Michelle.