Personal identity is shaped over a long period of time and is continuously evolving, sometimes drastically. We have a certain amount of control over how our lives unfold and progress depending on the choices we make, but not over everything. Personal identity is not visible, it is inside as opposed to outside, it is what makes you who you are.
Every person’s journey is different, everything that has happened in the past up to the present interacts in complex ways impacting on personal identity; choices made, barriers faced, unexpected life events, to name a few.
From a young age our society profoundly influences how we think and act, through social conditioning, peer pressure and social learning. People are often defined by their culture, upbringing, gender, colour of skin and environment, although this type of societal bias can affect the development of someone’s personal identity, it is not their identity.
As the world becomes more complex, ambivalent, uncertain and nuanced, having awareness of your personal identity and the ability to learn, adapt and find new processes to reach your full potential personally and professionally, can help with current challenges and help prepare you for the future.
It’s much easier to default to the present than to imagine a different future. But you can make changes to reimagine and reinvent your identity, rather than maintaining the status quo, especially if you aren’t happy with it. To re-frame your story and how you think and feel about your identity, first look within yourself and be aware of your different traits, your values and your strengths. As Socrates said, ‘know thyself’.
Then direct your energy on creating a vision and clear intentions on how you will begin to think and feel differently to attain your desired future.
Organisations that encourage greater diversity by creating a sense of belonging and enable an inclusive culture where people are continually learning, foster conditions where people feel comfortable to bring their true selves to work, without fear of rejection or discrimination. Where this is the case, people are more likely to own and embrace their identity, values and traits in a holistic way leading to happier, more creative and effective people at work.
At Glassmoon we believe there are 10 Intersecting Areas of Life which make up our whole selves: Career, Family, Mental, Physical, Social, Financial, Creative, Emotional, Sensory and Spiritual. Being aware of the different areas and what they mean to us at different ages and stages, as we navigate our way through our lives, can be helpful in creating an equilibrium which enables us to be well across all areas.
See what comes to you when you think about each area and how you feel about each one. Start with the area that you are most drawn to first and write what it means to you, moving onto each one in turn in an order that works for you.
Consider how much energy and attention you give to each area over a day, a week or a month. Note any feelings of discomfort or joy as you do this activity and consider each area.
This is a good time of year to do this exercise as it can be an energising alternative to New Year resolutions or long lists of things to do and unrealistic goal setting.
Please feel free to leave us any comments on this post after you have completed the activity. We’d love to hear how you get on.