I took the tube back out of town
Back to the Rollin' Pin
I felt a little like a dying clown
With a streak of Rin Tin Tin ...
I stretched back and I hiccuped
And looked back on my busy day
Eleven hours in the Tin Pan
God, there's got to be another way ...
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who? ...
~ The Who ~ Who Are You? ~
Who are you today? Who were you yesterday? Who will you be tomorrow? What popped into your mind? Did you immediately think of your job title? Did you identify yourself with a relationship? Did you describe your body, your personality or favorite hobby?
The notion of identity, of who we think we are ...
We are so quick to identify ourselves using our circumstances, how others perceive us, our behaviours, or our positions in life ... which limits our growth, leaves us lost and confused. Ironically, these same labels can give us a sense of belonging, security, shape the way we act and feel but they are misleading because none can fully describe the multifaceted reality of being human.
I think the most damaging is when we cling to negative identities ... “I am diabetic, I have cancer, I am no good with money, I can’t sing” ... we cling because it is part of our comfort zone. You see we know our boundaries, what we can and cannot do, so we never venture out.
Think about it ... if the labels we give others stem from our shallowest impulses and prevent us from really knowing another person, the labels we assign to ourselves are even worse. They destroy us from within. No matter what the label, the more we cling to it, the more pain we are going to suffer.
So how do you expose the real YOU? Start with recognizing the identities you are holding on to. Next speak about them in a different way allows you to detach from them. The reality is that you are not your circumstances, you are not what you do, you are not roles and you are not your thoughts and beliefs.
Here are some examples of how looking with a different perspective changes things ....
I have cancer my body has cancer
I am broke I would like to have more money
I am disabled I am a person with a disability
I am fat I would like to be more healthy
I hate my job I would like to find another job
I am just a stay at home mom I raise my children
The idea is that after you can no longer do what you do, whether by choice or not, you will still be you. Knowing how to let go of any given identity without losing our essential selves yields a security we'll never get from fame, power, money, beauty, or any other personality prop. Through stillness we remain ourselves no matter what happens ... loss or gain, pain or pleasure, fame or disrepute.
Hence when the bad labels come at you glue-side up, or the positive ones are stripped away, ask yourself “who are you really?” ...