Updated: May 20, 2020
I’ve been thinking lately about identity, about the identities and images that you see a lot of nowadays, especially on social media: the spiritualist, the vegan, the woke or conscious, the entrepreneur, the influencer, the wellness warrior, the yogi.
I’ve been wondering whether everyone fits perfectly into these identities, whether they are everyone’s truth, so to speak, or is social acceptance still playing a role? Is being a wellness warrior, for example, the new social conditioning? Is it cool to be a wellness warrior, therefore I am a wellness warrior?
Don’t get me wrong. I love wellness, and I love the wellness movement that we have shifted towards as a collective. I’m spiritual, I’m holistic in my approach to well-being, I love yoga, I’m not a vegan but I love all beings and I see food as medicine and I’m forever working on the eternal job (what I believe is all of our eternal jobs!) of cleaning my wounds in order to raise my vibe and inner consciousness.
But what I’m definitely not is dogmatic to any of those things. I’d prefer to not take on any of those labels as me, even though much or all of me may embody them.
My soul isn’t interested in labels. She turns up her nose because she doesn’t think anyone is expressed by a definitive category or that our truth can be so easily confined under a set of strict guidelines. She also doesn’t think that our identities need to be flogged, or that jumping on the bandwagon of what’s now popular is soul-honouring. My true identity says no.
My true identity says, “I’m me,” and the true me doesn’t want to be restrained to thinking “people like me do things like this” or “people like me post things like this” or “I need to tell everyone I am this”.
A queen doesn’t need to prove that she is a queen, she simply owns it. If a queen went around telling everyone, “I am a queen,” and if she spent her days trying to convince anyone who would listen, she’d be cast a phony (not to mention she’d be giving up all sense of personal power). And so, does the same apply to all of us? The true me thinks so.
The true me doesn’t want to convince others that she is a spiritual being because she already is spiritual. Her spirituality is something she holds so dearly, something that is so sacred to her that it really doesn’t need to preached or tainted by an idea or guidelines around what spirituality means because she already knows what it means to her.
Then, is the claiming of these modern identities actually killing our true identities? Are people getting wrapped up and confused by the lure of these images that place them in a favorable light? And does posting something on Instagram or Facebook, or declaring it repetitively out aloud, or adhering to it dogmatically day in and day out, make you more you? Or does it take you further away from the real you?
Are you more of yourself without the help of these descriptors, without the direction of who you should be when you take on a particular identity?
I feel like who we are (who you are) doesn’t need to be sold to anyone or held together so tightly under the guise of a set of must-dos or an identity that society has determined (for now) to be admirable. Who are you without those labels? Are you taking on an identity that inadvertently places you at risk of behaving in a way that is expected of you?
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t exemplify what you believe in. Yes! Represent. And I’m not telling you to keep a lid on it. Be who you are! Own it. I am saying there is a difference between trying to fit yourself into an identity category and being you.
There is a difference between having to prove yourself to the world and owning who you are. One results in a lot of noise, social convincing and adherence to suffocating guidelines, and the other has a strong, calm presence, is inspirational purely by existence, and is flexible and therefore illimitable by nature.
My soul knows that who she is doesn’t have anything to do with being indoctrinated under an identity label, because who she is comes from her core, her truest centre. A centre that has no real descriptive word and that could never be summed up within a single class.
My soul knows that she is so much more than an image. She is exquisitely infinite, stunningly spicy, complex and forever evolving, and demonstrating obedience to an image doesn’t cue any of those things.
It all comes back to the same time-honoured principle: do you. Whatever you looks like today, and today will look different from yesterday and tomorrow. Do the you that has no boundaries, isn’t led by preconceived fads or by should-dos or musts. The you that isn’t narrowed by a set of rules that fall within a specific identity. The you that is subservient to you and not to an image.
Let the real you be free to be who she or he wants to be in any given moment: one of a kind and unapologetically ever-changing.
By Rochelle Smith
Author Bio: Rochelle Smith is a dreamer and a creator. She loves the synchronicity of life and all things philosophical. Rochelle left a 12-year corporate career to pursue her dream of becoming a writer and a psychologist. She describes her approach to the helping profession as “mixing the science of psychology with soul” and aims to assist people to re-connect with their true centre. Rochelle believes in living in truth, to heal and ultimately fulfil individual potential. She loves people and believes in the kindness of humanity. Rochelle founded The Honour Project on Instagram spreading her insights on life and the benefits of honouring who we are to improve overall wellbeing and mental health. Her writing is her therapy, and through her clarity of expression, she hopes to touch others by sharing her own wisdom, lessons learnt, and soul.