by Jeff Miller

This identity series is based on a statement from Henry Nouween, suggesting that most of us live in the unstable places of false identities that attempt to conform to illusionary suggestions such as “I am what I have,” “I am what I do” and “I am what other people think about me”.

Today, we are bombarded with visual images. Some pure and authentic, some enhanced or even virtual. Do these images affect our identity? Does identity comes from the outside or inside?

Is it a function of our outward appearance – our physique, the color of our skin, what we wear, how we walk or talk? Or is our identity determined through what’s inside – our character, motivations, treatment of others?

Ideally, it seems a balance of both is needed. Our identity comes from what is inside and flows out. The outside being a reflection of what is on the inside. If our identity is based solely on what others can see on the outside, we can become hollow shells, void on the inside. However, if all is on the inside, we become like a nut, so full of meat it is hard to crack.

Internal chaos is created if we are unable to embrace who we are. It can happen if we hyper-actively try to change either what is on the inside or on the outside. Always trying to please others and striving to be who they think we should be; or, always pondering on the inside if what we are doing is right? Either can lead you and I to lose who we really are by trying to be someone we are not.

How we see or don’t see ourselves directly affects our ability to truly be real with ourselves (as opposed to illusionary). Ultimately, it also affects our ability to be authentic in relationship with others, which we will explore in part 3.

   What helps you to better understand and embrace who you truly are?                        How do you find balance between your outward vs. inward identity?

This is part of a series of posts identity. Start with What is identity… true or false? part 1.

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