By Gregg Sanderson
Your personal self is your only true identity.
Each of us has multiple identities. Your individual identity is who you are. It’s everything unique about you. You live in the world as yourself. Your self-esteem comes from your BS about who you are and what you do (BS=Belief System of course).
We also have collective identities. We identify ourselves and others by traits that describe us. We view ourselves and others as part of one or more groups who may look, think, or act alike.
For example, we have young, old, white, black, male, and female. There’s rich, poor, immigrant, citizen, gay, straight, spiritual belief or political party. I’ll bet you can think of even more.
It’s fine to join or adopt ideas from any group. It enriches your life. But when the collective identity eclipses your personal self, you sign up for the “Vs” (Victimhood, Vengeance, and Validation).
I was once with a friend who apologized to a group of women on behalf of the entire male gender. He regretted generations of mistreatment.
Translation: “I apologize because somebody who looks like me, but wasn’t me, once mistreated somebody who looks like you, but wasn’t you.”
He showed me the flaws in collective identity. You view yourself as a part of the group, but you also see others through the lens of your collective. You assign to them a personality, history, and BS that may have nothing to do with who they are.
The more you identify with a group, party, or tribe, the more you’re involved in the “Vs”. When self-esteem depends upon your collective, you can be a victim of your color or gender. Your heritage can make you vulnerable, and being “too old” or “too young” can appear to invalidate you.
You can mess up your life if you try to get even.
Think of the groups that tell you that you are less or more than you believe you are. They all take aim at your self-esteem. Some to raise it, some to destroy. When you let a collective tell you who you are, you set yourself up to suffer.
Please understand it’s not wrong to be part of a collective. It just won’t make you happy, and we’re talking about happiness.
The “Happiness Paradigm” of Stimulus>BS>Response can only apply to you as an individual. Only you have the unconscious BS that ignites your emotions. Only you can choose how you identify yourself and relate to the world. Only you have the power to make you happy.
Your personal self is your only true identity. All else is description.
Con artists will tell you otherwise, and they’re easy to spot. They follow a set pattern:
- You’re not OK
- I’ll make you OK
- Give me your money, your homage, or your vote.
Think of preachers, pundits, and politicians.
Think of marketers, motivators, and manipulators.
Think of peddlers, peers, and prom dates.
OMG! They’re all over the place!
Ha ha, the joke’s on you. You’re already OK and always have been. It’s only your bummer BS that makes you think otherwise.
Gregg Sanderson is author of Spirit With A Smile, The World According To BOB. He is a licensed practitioner in the Centers for Spiritual Living, and a Certified Trainer for Infinite Possibilities. His earlier books were, What Ever Happened To Happily Ever After? and Split Happens—Easing The Pain Of Divorce. His latest project is the New Thought Global Network, where subscribers can enjoy the best in New Thought presentations from anywhere at any time. You can see it at http://www.newthoughtglobal.org.