A way to think about identity:
It’s the story you tell yourself about yourself.
And you’re probably aware a major source of the material for that story comes from your past experiences: stuff that’s happened, things people did or said.
The question, though, is what story do you tell?
Keep in mind a story is never merely about events. It’s about how we interpret those events. But how we interpret them matters a lot for what comes next.
Case in point: it’s just been announced that the Matrix is about to receive a sequel. Which is interesting because we all thought that story had ended. But clearly not. We won’t know until it’s out, but clearly, the events we thought had ended things are being reinterpreted to tell a new story.
It’s the same with you and me.
There’s just one thing though: whether the new Matrix movie does well depends on whether we buy the story it tells us. If we don’t believe it, if it feels false, it’ll be rejected at the box office (although I’m really hope it does well)!
And that too is true for us: the story we tell has to be one we believe. And the reason it’s hard to change the story we’ve told ourselves all this time, even when it’s leaving us stuck, is because we really believe it.
So it’s time to update that definition:
Your identity is the story you believe about yourself.
You might tell yourself whatever, but if you don’t believe it, if you don’t buy it deep down, then you need to either work on that story or stop deceiving yourself.
I’ll share in a future post what I’ve learned (and where I’ve failed) about the stories we tell and the ones we believe.
For now, though, it might be worth spending some time this weekend thinking about what has fed into your identity story, and what elements of that you really want to hold on to.