Untying yourself from the mental attachments that make up who you think you are up to this point in time, is the ultimate freedom.
Identification is everywhere…and I don’t even mean in just the literal sense of photo ID’s, driver’s licenses, or birth certificates that identify who you are as a person on this earth. As we grow and experience our world, we build an identity for ourselves…based on a giant conglomeration of factors. As we move through the world, all of this information gets taken in from the conscious and subconscious minds, and then as we develop, soon enough, we have created a “version” of ourselves that we go by and believe is truth. We navigate the world each day with our conscious, and with the subconscious running programs in the background and taking in tons of information, all while we walk around, do our tasks, chat about how our day is going, etc. Everything that happens during each day, in turn, will ultimately influence our beliefs, choices, and our feelings about anything going on in the external world. Anything from our cultural traditions, religious affiliations, job titles, interests…etc. If you can name it, chances are there will be some sort of way to identify it to your life or what makes up “who you are.”
Now take all of that…every experience you’ve had, everything you’ve watched or read or were taught…whatever this identity is for you; and now add on the pressure of what the rest of the world around you thinks you are based on those identifications that you’ve projected. Not only that, but chances are that what YOU think someone thinks of you may not be what they actually think of you. Either way, maybe there are a lot of people that like this version of you, and you feel good to some degree with this version of you, and you feel like you belong in some way, shape or form
Unfortunately, there is one problem…one day you wake up and realize that it’s not who you truly are based on an inner knowing, or quite possibly, you’re not even aware of that inner knowing yet…all you know is that you just feel a big rift inside of you, causing you to feel down or frustrated or confused. As time goes on though, all the sudden you do have a bigger realization that you’re not living within your full authenticity.
First off, if you have had this sudden epiphany that you are truly not what you’ve manifested in your life as your current identity (or mask), that’s a BIG realization and should be commended. It’s not necessarily your fault though (at least consciously). You were only navigating your life from a certain level of awareness. It also doesn’t mean that the version of you that maybe at one time loved baseball, but no longer likes baseball, wasn’t real. It was just a version of who you were at the time, and that may have been authentic for you during that period of time.
What I’m getting at though is on a much deeper level. What if you just “are”? You may identify as someone who enjoys baseball, apple pie, and red cars, but underneath anything that you associate yourself with…you just “are.” There is no attachment in this state. No attachment to expectations, or outcomes, or identities. No energetic attachment to people, circumstances, or beliefs. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t follow or do things that resonate for you, because there is a difference between attachment and following what calls you. What I am saying though is if you’re holding onto something or a belief that is polarizing you and keeping you stagnant in your growth, then it’s probably not serving you and your highest good.
The Art of Detachment
Sometimes we’re attached to versions of ourselves that hold us back and keep us from expanding. Maybe you’ve had some traumas in your life that keep you from feeling safe to proceed with a new venture, or a new relationship. On top of that, trauma is probably going to mean something different to each person as well. What one would consider a severe trauma, someone else may see as minor, and vice versa. I do think there are societal things that many would agree as being “traumatic,” but again, so much of this is up to the perceiver of an experience. If you’re feeling blocked in your life or are attempting to move past a feeling that seems to be getting in the way of your next evolutionary step, you may never know what thoughts or feelings (sometimes seemingly unrelated to a present problem or situation you’re trying to solve) are running you on autopilot.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do think there are a lot of great tools and philosophies that can absolutely help you figure out who you are and the many unique aspects of you (especially if you’re confused about where to go in your life). When I was going through an awakening, it just felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore because everything I had come to learn or was taught was interpreted as cold-hard fact, which created a belief system (which in turn, kept me in a box of what I thought was true or possible). So as my mind and self were deconstructing my social conditioning, I was simultaneously looking for deeper answers, and looking for anything that would help me understand me more deeply. Anything from personality tests, to astrology charts, to trying to understand what differences I was feeling energetically and in the body and how all of that connects.
Though in this moment, I feel I’m building some sort of new “identity” of who I am, and who I want to help and work with, I also know that even as I build this newer version of me, that it is not something that needs to be set in stone. For instance, though on paper I’m an INFJ personality type, more introverted by nature and enjoy doing creative things and philosophizing about the bigger questions in this world, it doesn’t mean that I need to marry myself to the fact that I need to be an introvert every day. Though the traits I mentioned resonate the most for me, and help me describe myself to others at times, in the end, there are still so many factors that make up who I am, and who you are. And those things can change at any time in whatever direction feels aligned for you. Identification and using descriptors to define yourself or what you do outwardly to the world can be important to some degree, especially in the world of business, but again, even if you become “known” for something, you can always change it. Otherwise, you’re just keeping yourself chained to a specific trait, job, or circumstance.
Developing True Self-Awareness
So how do you transcend identification? How do you move past the things that you externally identify with that may be holding you back?
The best answer I can come up with in this present moment is self-awareness. It sounds simple on paper, and it can be once you’re living with more self-awareness…but in my experience it goes way deep and requires a lot of questioning and introspection.
For example, how aware are you that you have the power to choose in any situation how you react to something? How aware are you that you have the abilities to transcend your current circumstances, but at the same time, be grateful for where you are at and with what you have? Don’t get me wrong, it’s ambitious and commendable to have your life goals and bucket list aspirations that you want to fulfill and are driven towards. There is nothing wrong with that. However, my point is, what type of energy are you putting out there in regards to manifesting those things? If you feel like it’s always out of your grasp for some reason and never seems to come to fruition, why do you feel that is? Do you feel like you’re longing for it or needing it in order to fulfill a void? Or can you picture it like you’re already there, allowing it to enhance your experience and allow life to bring you the energy and circumstances that will bring you the opportunities to move towards that aspiration with more ease, grace, and excitement, without worrying about the who’s, what’s, where’s, and when’s? Are you following something because it temporarily will make you feel good, or are you following something because you know it will fill your soul on a deeper level?
Do you feel victimized that you’re in your current circumstance, or can you find a way to focus a little more on the good things that are in front of you in order to cultivate some good energy flow and build some new momentum? If someone has mistreated or hurt you, can you find a way to forgive them? (Sidebar: Forgiving someone who is now out of your life doesn’t mean you have to physically let them back in or speak to them to forgive…forgiving someone, even just out loud in the tranquility of your bedroom, can make a difference on releasing the attached feelings to a person or situation. Even if they’ve hurt you in some way, forgiving releases YOU from the energetic grasp of the past circumstance and helps you take your power back).
I’ll use an example from my own life in terms of “identification.” So I went to college to be a graphic designer and graduated with a degree in that program nine years ago. My original “plan” in life was to start at whatever company would hire me after college, work my way up the corporate ladder, have a girlfriend and then be married by 30 and maybe have a couple kids by that time as well. I would either be a designer at an ad agency or some sort of large company, potentially making my way up the creative ladder to something like Creative Director. I would be making a lot of decent money, creating cool looking things while helping out other brands or companies using the skill-set I was taught.
Fast-forward to now…I’m past 30, I moved back home a couple years ago due to many circumstances, I worked for one smaller company as a designer for a few years, I’m not married, definitely don’t have any kids, and as of this writing, don’t work for any company now. I now work for myself, I’ve awakened to a totally new dimension of consciousness, and I’m now figuring out how all of my strengths can play into whatever possibilities my future holds, while doing my best to stay in the present moment; in other words, practicing the art of allowing vs. meticulously planning every aspect of my life down to the blade of finely landscaped grass.
In fact, even though I do design work, I almost despise labeling myself specifically as a “graphic designer.” Sure, that “label” is a nice way to help people understand one single facet of what I do, but in essence, I consider myself multi-passionate and multi-talented and have more to offer than that. Though I haven’t “figured all of it out” yet (and I don’t think any of us ever really do), and maybe I’m not where I aspire to be yet, I’m choosing to try and identify less with certain labels or attachments to outcomes or circumstances. And I’ll tell you now, if you want to free yourself from anything, it starts from within, and you have the power to do so, but that is a choice; even when external circumstances occur in your life that aren’t as pleasant. We all know those days are going to happen, but you are in control of your reactions, your perceptions, and your choices. Everything else is just a happening that we are experiencing through the lens of our own unique perceptions and levels of awareness. You can choose to leap into the greatest version of you at any time, or you can choose to refrain.
Though my current circumstance is nowhere near what I had conjured up in my mind as an early 20-something, I’m actually really glad that my original plan never came to fruition. After some deep introspection work the last few years, I do have better confidence in where I’m heading now, but I’m also open to the possibilities of what comes my way (which can be scary, but also very exciting). Just be open to what comes your way! The thing getting in the way of your greatest self is you!
Where are areas of your life that you have stifled away due to outside pressure, societal norms, or other people’s opinions? Where do you hold onto identities of yourself that keep you boxed in? What can you do to let go of those identities in order to create a new version of yourself (free from attachments)? How can you be more patient with yourself during your growth process? Drop a line in the comments below and let me know what area of your life you’re looking to level-up! You got this!
All the best, as always!