In my last therapy session, my therapist said, “It sounds like you would like to figure out who you are. Who would you say you are today?” I started listing my roles. “I’m a mom, a step-mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a training and development specialist, an author, a mom, a wife, a girl scout leader, a microlearning video developer, did I say mom and wife already?” She said, “yes those are your titles and roles but who are you?” I was stuck. I couldn’t come up with anything. Even when she assigned it as homework, I still wrote down those identities. I was shocked it was so hard for me to define who I am without including everyone else. This led me to work through it by creating some digital abstract art. I still have not 5been able to come up with who I am, but I did reveal some cool insights.
We put a lot of value in identity. But when we really think about it, our identity really isn’t who we are. Our identities are based on our experiences. Through those experiences, we develop identities. And when people don’t have the same experiences as us or identify in the same ways we separate from those people.
Our identities are also related to our memories. Over time our memories have been changed, remembered, or forgotten. Our thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and sensations have all changed over the years. Each time those things have changed we have changed too and “who we are” has changed with it. We choose our identity based on our thoughts, memories (even false ones), feelings, sensations, perceptions, experiences, and, behaviors. And nothing more. The things we identify as our identity are just notations. Our name, race, ethnicity, gender, class, education, profession, role, family, etc. Are all just arbitrary notations. The more identities we choose, the more personalized it gets, and the more separate we become. You take away the labels and identities who are we?
We are all one. But when we keep piling on our experiences as labels or identities, we end up saying “I am me” and “you are you,” and the further away we get from our true essence. Then we can no longer see who we were created to be. The only thing that keeps us holding on to our identities is fear. The fear of the unknown. The fear of losing all the worldly identities. Fear of being naked. Fear of holding on to nothing but ourselves. And that right there is scary.
It is not to say we can’t keep our identities or be proud of our identities. But when we allow our identities to separate us from love which separates us from connectedness; we must consider taking a step back and evaluate if we are idolizing our identities. Our true essence is love and once we understand that, everything will come together in perfect order. Aligning creativity, love, connectedness, joy into one purpose. We should honor our experiences that have created our identity. However, we maybe should not idolize them or find comfort in them because inevitably they will change. We need to constantly return to our one true identity that does not ever change - love.
Therapeutic Art Explanation
Identities in Front
The different sizes and hues of gray squares represent one’s identities. The squares are in hues of gray to represent practical and fading. The circle represents the person. The sun-like color represents light; True Self. The identities are covering the True Self. True Self can get lost behind all the identities.
Identities in Back
The different sizes and hues of gray squares represent identities. The squares are in hues of gray to represent practical and fading. The circle represents the person. The sun-like color represents light; True Self. The identities are behind the circle which means that True Self has come into consciousness and the identities are behind True Self not covering Self. True Self understands that experiences and identities are a part of the Self but do not idolize them.