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Humans frequently change their identities, and it happens so often that we can miss it! As we evolve, we outgrow who we were and become who we are. We must embrace and celebrate these growth spurts and the need to let go of old identities to make room for the new!
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LETTING GO OF IDENTITIES THAT NO LONGER SERVE US
LET IT BURN
The last four weeks of my life have been challenging. I have been plagued with a sickness I couldn't quite shake, and I had a fever for five days straight. This is unusual for me. So whenever I have a lingering illness, I get very curious about what's happening within me. I will ask myself, "What is coming forth for me to look at? What is coming forward for me to let go?"
The answer came quickly: I was burning old identities, some going back farther than I anticipated. The memories that came up for me to look at and sort through were very old, and some were recent identities I had adopted as part of who I am. I was guided to explore
what I am holding onto that is pigeonholing me into a corner, preventing me from living life to its fullest capacity, and preventing me from being the creator I am meant to be. The answer was...identity!
PLAYING A ROLE
Identity is fascinating because we hold on to identities based on what has happened to us in the past or what role we played in a particular experience or relationship. This could be any relationship: working, romantic, or family. We have identities that come forward, and when we start to identify with, "This is my role, this is my identity," it can be very dangerous. As we step into that expected role, we get tunnel vision and see only that version of ourselves.
For example, let's say you were told you were stupid when you were a kid. As you carry those words with you and have experiences that reinforce those words as truth, there's an identity created that you are, in fact, less intelligent than others. This creates a dangerous pattern that can have an intelligent person never discover the gifts they have to offer.
Being stupid was a part of my identity when I was younger. I felt very stupid when it came to reading and speaking. I wasn't the most articulate person. I grew up in the ghetto and spoke in a particular way that was hard for some people to understand. In grade school, I was always behind in reading, and the experiences I lived became the identity I took on into my teens and early twenties. It wasn't until I started working on myself and telling myself, "I'm smart. I know I'm smart. I'm capable. I'm able to do things," that identity started to shift.
BUT HOW CAN I SHIFT IT?
We all hold on to identities from childhood. If you're struggling with being good enough, feeling worthy enough, feeling smart enough, and feeling capable enough, it's time to look back at previous experiences. Getting honest with yourself about these experiences and deciding to let them go is necessary.
This can be the most challenging part of shedding old identities. How do you let those go? The first step is acknowledging that you have an old identity that you don't want to carry forward. Secondly, counter any thought, such as, "I'm not good enough," with an opposing truth, "I am not only good enough, I am awesome!" To put an old identity to rest, you can create a new story with all the ways you have shown up as a capable, intelligent, and incredible you.
ONE PART OF YOU IS NOT THE WHOLE YOU
Let's say you are a full-time stay-at-home parent or caretaker, and it's become a significant part of your identity. Taking care of another human or humans is very challenging and can quickly crowd out all the other parts of who we are. If you have been a caretaker for a long time, is that the most prominent feature of your identity? If so, can you let go of that being your identity?
That does not mean you will not show up for those you care for. It means you include yourself in the equation. It means telling yourself,
"I am not defined by this one action or this one service that I provide. I am also human. I am also a spiritual being, and I deserve to take great care of myself just like I'm taking care of other people." - Amy Robeson CLICK TO TWEET
Even the most essential parts of your identity, and the ones you take pride and joy in fulfilling, are not the complete picture of who you are!
OUCH, THIS IS UNCOMFORTABLE!
As you commit to adding more joy into your life and your identity, you will start to see how certain aspects of your behavior keep you in a role or a character you are playing for the comfort of others. These identities are characters that you're playing, and when you realize that character is not truly you, a certain amount of discomfort will visit.
As you realize that the character in the mirror is a facade to meet the expectation of others, you may find that not everyone will be happy when you drop the role and become more of who you want to be. People will expect you to be that for them because that is the very thing they're used to you being, and when you decide to let go of these identities, people get uncomfortable.
That's okay! People will get uncomfortable all around you, but you can find comfort in knowing you are worthy and capable of making these changes. You are capable of living through people's discomfort, and you're capable of living through your own discomfort as well.
WAIT! THAT’S NOT ME!
For many years, I thought I was “Type A” to a T! I was a Finance Manager and fit the mold of being assertive, direct, self-motivated, and driven. Of course, I was Type A! Or, was I? It took me over a year living outside that role to realize, “Wait, that’s not me!”
My identity was wrapped around being type A. Does this sound familiar? If you think you are type A, get curious and ask yourself if that’s your identity or one given to you by someone else. You are under no obligation to be anything that anyone else expects of you.
It’s taken me years to shed that old identity and get comfortable realizing, “I’m not Type A. I thought I was, but I’m not. That’s not me.” When you start to shed these old expectations, it can mess with your head, but in a good way. You’re challenging the stereotype. You’re questioning that identity and giving yourself permission to say no to being anything other than yourself!
WHAT IF I’M NOT THAT?
What happens when you start questioning the titles and associations you have about yourself? Think about an identity you have and then take a moment to get curious, "What if I am not that?"
You might experience a tremendous sense of relief because with identity come certain expectations. When you step back, ponder, "What if I'm not that? What if I am this other thing?" See how your body reacts. Take a moment right here, right now, and think of an identity that you have.
- Are you type A?
- Are you pushy?
- Are you needy?
- Do you play the victim?
Think about the things you tell yourself throughout the day or have had other people tell you and bring that forward. Take a second to say, "I'm not that," and notice what happens.
How does your nervous system respond? The nervous system and the brain response may be different. Your brain might be going, "But I am, but I am," while your nervous system breathes a sigh of relief, "Thank God I could let that go. Thank goodness." The key to anything surrounding identity is to start questioning it. Start asking yourself, "Am I truly that? And what if I'm not?" Allow yourself to play with that possibility.
IS IT TIME TO LET GO?
Letting go can be a complicated process, but it feels so good. It's essential to your spiritual awakening and becoming all you are meant to become. Watching your thoughts will assist you in recognizing and then letting go of identities that no longer serve you.
Catching thoughts that reinforce certain behaviors will allow you to assert, "No, we're not doing that today. I'm not participating in that thought. I'm not participating in going down that rabbit hole that reinforces this association, this identity, this behavior, this pattern." As you catch these thoughts, you can redirect them into more supportive phrases to create beautiful change, "I'm worthy, I am peaceful, I am calm, I am rooted."
Remember to stay rooted in the present moment. You are here, and you are now. One of my mantras, while taking a cleansing breath in and out, "I am Amy Robeson, and I am here now. I am present in my body. I am whole, and I am safe. I am Amy Robeson. I am present. I am here now. I am safe. In my human body, I am safe."
Now I have a question for you! What identities are you letting go of? I emphasize that you have more than one identity, and the more willing we are to look at them, the quicker we can let go of the ones that are no longer serving us!
You, my friend, are capable of so much, and you deserve to recognize that within you, within your soul, your soul's essence, there is peace, there is love, there is compassion, and there is a grounded, rooted version of your amazing creator that you are, that you're here to be.
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Full transcription of the episode:
Hello, and welcome to today's episode. I don't know about you, but I've been going through this metamorphosis. Actually, the last four weeks have been quite challenging for me. I've been sick twice in the last 30 days, and the last time I was sick, I ended up having a fever for five days. And anytime I'm sick, I always like to ask myself, "What is coming forward for me to look at? What is coming forward for me to let go of?"
And what came forward for me to let go of was burning old identities. Very, very old identities. Identities attached to family, identities attached to the past, identities that I've created just recently. But identity in general, like, what am I holding onto that is pigeonholing me into a corner and preventing me from living life to its fullest capacity? Preventing me from being the creator that I am meant to be? And it came down to identity.
And identity is really an interesting thing because we hold on to identities based on what has happened to us in the past or what role we played in a particular experience or a particular relationship. And this could be any type of relationship: working relationship, business relationship, family relationship, or colleague relationship. We have these identities that come forward, and when we start to identify with, "This is my role, this is my identity," it can be a very dangerous thing because sometimes that identity is the only way that person sees themselves.
For example, let's say you were told you were stupid when you were a kid. You're stupid. And based on being told that, and based on the experience of reinforcing that you are stupid, there's this identity of being stupid that's created. And that identity is playing out in this moment in time to reinforce that, to create it in a future event. And it's dangerous. I know for me this was a part of my identity when I was younger.
I felt very stupid when it came to reading, when it came to speaking. I wasn't the most articulate person. I grew up in the ghetto. I spoke in a particular way that was hard for some people to understand. And my experience in grade school, I was always behind in reading. And so that identity that I took on, I took on in my teens, I took on in my early twenties.
And it wasn't until I started really working on myself and starting to tell myself, "I'm smart, I know I'm smart, I'm capable, I'm able to do things," that identity started to shift. But we all hold on to identities from childhood. And if you're a person that is struggling with not being good enough, not feeling worthy enough, not feeling smart enough, not feeling capable enough, look back at previous experiences and get honest with yourself about the experience and then decide to let it go.
And how do you let it go? Because that's, I think, sometimes the hardest part is letting it go. Well, one is an acknowledgment of, "I have this identity, and it's no longer serving me. What is the very opposite of that identity?" And let's say you're not feeling worthy enough. It's constantly telling yourself and creating a new story in the mind that you are good enough.
Let's say you are a full-time stay-at-home parent. Sometimes stay at home parents, that could be their identity. Or stay-at-home caretaker, that can become their identity. Taking care of another human or humans is very challenging. It's very, very, very challenging. And you deserve to take care of yourself just as much as you take care of others.
And so, if you have been a caretaker for so long, how can you let go of that identity? That does not mean you're not going to show up, and you're not going to take care of those people that you have been taking care of. But it's telling yourself, "I'm human too. I am not only defined by this one action or this one service that I provide. I am also human. I am also a spiritual being, and I deserve to take great care of myself just like I'm taking care of other people."
And what is it that truly brings me joy so I can stop this cycle that says, "I'm only this one thing, or I'm only these few things, or I'm only these identities that I identify with?" Because the identities are characters that you're playing. And the sooner you realize that the character in the mirror is not truly you, that it's a character, that's a facade that you're putting up to show the world to be this version that you think everybody expects you to be. And let me tell you; there are people that expect you to be that for them because that is the very thing they're used to you being.
And when you decide that change is about to occur and you start to let go of these identities, people get uncomfortable. Let me tell you that. People will get uncomfortable all around you. But what you have to take comfort in is that you are capable of making these changes. You are capable of living through people's discomfort, and you're capable of living through your own discomfort as well.
Let me tell you how heartbreaking it was when I realized how much my ego and I were wrapped in the identity that I associated with when I was in my previous career. I was a Finance Manager Director for ten years, and I was constantly working, constantly being busy, and I thought I was type A. Let me tell you, I am not type A. I am very direct. I am very self-motivated, but I'm actually not type A.
And my identity was wrapped around being type A. And if you think you are a type A, just taking a step back and going, "No, I'm not type A. That's not my identity," it will mess with your head. It totally will mess with your head. However, it will mess with your head in a good way because you're challenging that stereotype. You're challenging that identity.
And it took me over, and I want to say the first year I took a step back, I took some time off. It took me over a year to get comfortable with that I wasn't that, and I wasn't my career. And that it's okay if I go back into this career because I had to take some time off, but I don't have to identify as that particular thing. And it took me over a year to really start taking a step back. And it wasn't until maybe three or four years ago that I realized, "Oh, maybe, no, I'm not type A. I thought I was, but I'm not."
And so this is the thing that I love about getting curious about the thoughts that go in our mind, and the identity that happens for us is that you start questioning and start getting curious about these titles, these associations that you have about yourself. And then you just take a moment and say, "What if I am not that?" And you might actually have a huge sense of relief because with identity comes certain expectations.
And when you take a step back, and you're like, "What if I'm not that? What if I am this other thing?" And then see how your body reacts. Just take a moment right here, right now. Take a moment and think of an identity that you have.
Are you type A? Are you pushy? Are you needy? And these could be things that people say to you. Do you play the victim? Think about the things that either you tell yourself throughout the day or you have had other people tell you and just bring that forward. And then just take a second and say, "I'm not that." And then take a breath and see what happens.
How does your nervous system respond? And the nervous system and the brain response may be different. Your brain might be going, "But I am, but I am." And your nervous system is like, "Thank God I could let that go. Thank goodness." The key for anything with identity is to start questioning it. Start asking yourself, "Am I truly that? And what if I'm not?" And just play with that possibility.
The other way that you can let go of identity is by watching your thoughts. Watching your thoughts that reinforce certain behaviors will allow you to go, "No, we're not doing that today. I'm not participating in that thought. I'm not participating in going down that rabbit hole that reinforces this association, this identity, this behavior, this pattern," and it's catching it and then redirecting it towards something that supports you in what it is that you're truly wanting to create with change. And it could just be, "I'm worthy, I am peaceful, I am calm, I am rooted."
The next thing is rooting yourself in the present moment. And so let's say you do catch a thought, and you're like, "Oh, that's totally not it, that's not me, I don't want to be that." And saying, "I don't, I don't want to. I can't..." Let's just go to the present moment. And one of the things that I love to do is just going, nice deep breath in, cleansing breath out. "I am," and I state my name, "I am Amy Robeson, and I am here now. I am present in my body. I am whole, and I am safe. I am Amy Robeson. I am present. I am here now. I am safe. In my human body, I am safe."
It's something along the lines of that you can even state the date, the date that you are in because that also brings you into the present moment. You can state the exact date that it is, the moment, the time of day, the exact time, and that will bring you into the present moment. Don't underestimate the mantra, "I am safe." Does that feel so yummy? And does that feel so good? "I am safe. I am safe to be present. I am safe to be me. I am safe. Just breathing, I am safe."
This mantra, for me, is one of the most profound mantras and profound "I am" statements because our beings, our aspects of our being, will live in the past. And the more that you remind the aspects of your different parts, the more that you remind the different parts of you, the different aspects of you, that you are safe and it's the present moment, you're not in the past, the easier it is for you to regulate your nervous system to come back to the heart, to stop creating more of the past for the future. And that's key.
Coming back to the breath is also going to be key. So it's like, receive a breath, "I am not that. I am me. I am this. I am present. I am safe." The breath is the reset button. The breath will always be the reset button. The more that we breathe, the more oxygen, the more vital life force we experience, and the more the mind settles. The mind can go on this hamster wheel and assist in creating the future that you don't really want to reinforce the past. And so the breath allows the mind to go 'Up, settle down. Oh, I'm breathing." It refocuses and redirects the attention.
So now I have a question for you. What identities are you letting go of? And I'm using identities. I want to emphasize that you have more than one identity. We all have tons of identities, and the more willing we are able to look at them, the quicker we'll get to identifying the identities that are no longer serving us; to identifying the identities that aren't in alignment with where you're wanting to go; the identities that are causing you to play a character that's not truly your soul's essence.
You, my friend, are capable of so much, and you deserve to recognize that within you, within your soul, your soul's essence, there is peace, there is love, there is compassion, and there is a grounded, rooted version of your amazing creator that you are, that you're here to be. So remember that.
Alright, my friend. Please make sure you like and subscribe. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode. Have fun. Bye.
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