They’ve been doing it your whole life, letting you know who you are and how you fit in.
Are you really who, and how, others say you are?
It’s not that anyone means you any harm by telling you these things. After all, you’ve probably done the same for others. It can be a great validation and comfort to be accepted into a group.
Belonging can also make you feel safe, which is why it’s so difficult to pull away from the group identity. You might even belong to a group you love to hate – yet can’t seem to step away. You get sucked back in every time you try.
The problem with this is that it can be difficult to really see and know yourself when others are constantly doing that for you. Could there be far more to you than meets the eye?
Nobody knows you better than you know yourself.
It takes a brave person to buck conventional wisdom about what is true and go look for yourself.
Even when you know it’s holding you back, a group you belong to can be a comfort, kind of like junk food at times, but comforting none the less. Alas, like junk food, sometimes that group cannot nourish you the way real food does. Perhaps the real nourishment comes from within the depths of you.
There’s also the loyalty picture, as in, “I can’t let the others down now, they’ll be angry or feel I’ve turned my back on them”. Meanwhile, you may be turning your back on yourself, your dreams, your intuition. You may even believe you are not so very capable, since that is what the others around you are comfortable believing about themselves. There is a false sense of security in staying hidden.
This is one reason why people turn their abilities down or off. It’s too painful to know something sometimes, when you cannot or will not take action to follow up what you know.
You can belong to a group and also have your own space.
Can you really be in charge of your own self definition? Take a moment to consider this – we are all given many definitions and categories our whole lives. Ways of defining us, ways of fitting in. Many of these name badges we’ve worn proudly, a way of defining oneself.
If you have often looked outside of yourself for the definition, you may have a difficult time coming up with one of your own. And what happens when you want to change the definitions, and the others don’t agree?
To be nobody but myself-in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make me somebody else-means to fight the hardest battle any human can fight, and never stop fighting. – e.e. cummings