I feel like I’m noticing it more and more, and I can’t figure out if it’s just my awareness of it, or if people are just starting to be more outward about it. I’m talking about identities. Labels. External ways to define one’s self. I guess people have always found certain external ways to define themselves. Through various clothing styles, music choices, diets, tattoos, cars we drive, exercise choices, jobs, hairstyles… pretty much every single thing we do is a way to define our-‘selves’. So why does it feel like people are literally stating who they are more now, than ever before?
Oh that’s right, it’s social media!! Social media has given us a chance to define ourselves in a way that’s not necessarily an external ornament on our bodies or in our lives, but also not quite only an internal view that we have about ourselves. It’s this weird digital medium that allows us to “define” ourselves, with words and pictures, somewhere up in a “cloud” that is then used to broadcast out into the world the ways in which we see ourselves. We have our captions, filters, stories, names, but mostly what I’ve been seeing more and more of, is the BIO. The little phrases where we give ourselves a TITLE. Somehow. These little bios crack me up sometimes. I’m not denying that I don’t have one that is just as long and self-promoting as the next person, but I just think they’re funny. Sometimes I read mine, and I’m like damn, how did I become that person!!
I guess you can kind of relate it to a business card for your entire self, not just for business. But the real question is, why do humans need a sense of identity? Why do we feel like we have to state who we are, in writing, next to a picture (of course a flawless picture) of ourselves? And if we don’t state who we think we are in that little box, does that mean we don’t know who we are? When we do define ourselves in our bio, is that who we actually are, or who we wish to be?
I have a lot of questions on this subject matter, which is probably why I chose to write about it. I thought that if I started writing, then maybe I’d get an answer to my questions. Turns out, all I’ve learned, is that even writing this blog post is a way of me trying to define myself. This is my ego, trying to wrap its head around itself. It’s funny, because I feel like I’ve been to many workshops, yoga classes, lectures, that talk about “destroying the ego” or “re-writing the stories we tell ourselves”, but here I am, a yogi (another label), who is constantly defining myself through writing and social media. Actually, it almost seems like a lot of “yogis” are the ones with the longest bios. Does that mean we’re not actually living a yogic life, if we’re feeding our ego with validations from comments and likes?? Possibly.
Or maybe it means that we have MORE of a sense of who we are, and that makes us unafraid to publicly state it? We know exactly what we’re here for on earth, so then promoting that knowingness becomes easier, and less concerned with opinions of others? That seems a little more right to me. As long as we’re being truthful with our bios that is. (But maybe this is just my ego trying to rationalize why I’m doing what I’m doing! AHH!!)
But that doesn’t answer the question of why I need to “destroy the ego”, or my identity – whatever you wanna call it. I think the answer is, you don’t need to destroy it. It’s my belief that you will always have an ego, or an identity, for however long you walk this earth. And that identity doesn’t necessarily have to stay fixed. It then becomes a matter of if you’re deliberately CHOOSING that identity, or if you’re letting the rules set in place by society shape YOU. Getting more into WHY you are choosing to wear the clothes you wear, or listen to the music you do. When thought about long and hard enough, the answer usually ends up having to do with acceptance. The desire to be accepted by our peers by wearing things that are “in style” or listening to music that is “popular” or that we think other people will like too. (Or maybe you listen to music that isn’t mainstream, but that’s also part of your identity). We all “do the things” for the same reasons in the end. When you get down to it, we’re all the same.
If you can intentionally choose your identity, and what you’re putting out into this world, then you can create whatever world you want to live in. It’s almost like you and your ego are working together, as a team. Joining forces to live together in a way that feels good. But you have to be AWARE and INTENTIONAL to be able to live together in peace with your ego (or else it runs your life and you have no idea what you’re doing or why you’re doing it!!) And that starts with living presently. In the present moment. Living in the present moment, is where you can choose the way to direct your ego, your identity, and your life. It always comes back to that present moment, doesn’t it?
I choose to direct my ‘self’ to places and experiences that feel good. For me, that means a lot of yoga classes, eating a lot of healthy meals (and chocolate), getting a lot of sleep, writing out my thoughts to better understand my own self, and overall being surrounded by people who are kind and don’t think it’s dumb to be constantly focusing on yourself and doing self-care.
Identity is a subject that I think can be talked about and thought about for hour and days and for basically your whole life. Constantly creating and recreating your identity to match WHO IT IS that you think you are. So I guess this was more of a thought provoking blog, rather than inspiring or informational, so I’ll just leave you with one more question to ponder…
“Who are you?”
(If you have any answer to my questions, feel free to comment, or message me directly!!)