Identities are at an all-time high. We have an #identity we show in person, on our fun social media sites (Instagram, Tik-tok), and with our colleagues at work (LinkedIn). We also have identities thrust upon us by virtue of the family we are born or marry into — daughter, sister, aunt, sister-in-law (or the male version of these roles). Multiple identities can make it hard to just be ourselves. Carrying our identities around and remembering where and when it’s appropriate to bring them out is a lot to remember.
What about identities we go looking for because someone else has one you want? I recently attended a writing conference. There were over 300 writers at all parts of the writing journey and all levels of involvement of the organization producing the event. At check-in, we were given our name badge and a series of ribbons to add to our lanyard. While I typically don’t care to wear name tags, I found myself reading others’ ribbons and wanting ribbons like theirs. For example, after registering for the conference, but before attending, I signed a contract to publish my first novel. So, I didn’t have a “contract” ribbon. People should know this important detail about me! I’m an author. Give me my “author” ribbon! Let the people know who I am! Even writing this now, I’m shaking my head at myself. How silly of me. I know who I am. Most of the time I’m confident in that.
There was a pop-psych book published in the mid-1970’s entitled, Why am I afraid to tell you who I am? Spoiler-alert – the answer to the question is that if I tell you who I am and you don’t like me, that’s all I have. So, are we afraid to really explore the question? Are we running around being who we think we need to be depending on the group we’re with? Are we putting up a front we think will impress others? Are we trying to change our identity because we don’t think we’ll be accepted? Well, yes and no.
It’s appropriate at work, to relate and communicate with your co-workers about all things work-related. There are polite before-meeting conversations about how your weekend was, but for the most part, it’s pretty serious talk. If you’re out with friends, it’s appropriate to be casual (goofy even) and talk about more fun things. Attending a funeral, it’s appropriate to be quiet and reserved out of respect. And if you’re at a writing conference, it’s appropriate to wear your ribbons proudly. As long as in all situations our language and behavior match our true identity and is a reflection of our heart.
Let me encourage you to not chase the identities of others because you want what they have. Be your wonderful self. You were made uniquely you; an individual with God-given talents and skills. Oh, as long as we’re talking about God’s role in your identity, remember you were created in His image. What! Yes, the creator of the universe, breathed life in you. With that breath, you were given a purpose. Don’t hide that precious identity you were given. Part of knowing your identity is finding that purpose. Seek and find — not just a game for kids. We play it our entire lives as we grow and learn about who we are. It keeps things interesting.
All the best,
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