There are a lot of different ways to look at identity. Our identity is who we are. It’s based on many factors. The important one I like to focus upon is, who do you believe you are? I want to know, when you look in the mirror, who do you see? What words come to mind as you look yourself in the eye? Do you like looking yourself in the eyes?
These are critical questions to better understanding yourself and where you are on your journey through life. For a large part of my life, I was unable to look in the mirror. The man I saw was not who I wanted to be. But yet, I didn’t have a solid understanding of what, who, and how I was supposed to be.
Often our identity is rooted in gender. This is an area in society that has clearly gone through a shift over the last 30 years. I find that we get too caught up in gender stereotypes in which we were raised; the ones that basically say all men do this, or all women do that. I believe our identity, like our sexuality, can be somewhat fluid, meaning it can change over time and in the different seasons of our lives. I look at our identity like the foundation of a house. If the foundation has cracks or is built on clay, it will severely affect the strength of the house and how safe it is to live within it.
When our identity is solid, built upon a foundation of knowing who we are, important areas of our lives, like our intimate relationships, contain profound joy and connection. It sometimes takes a process of stripping away some of the negative voices of our past, or cracks, and filling them with new-found love and understanding for ourselves and the way we are. When this happens, we become the person we have always wanted to be. And experiencing intimacy with others becomes an integral part of this new way to live!