What is happening right now with the rise in women of all ages asking themselves, 'who am I?' We see and hear this everywhere we go. It has a resounding effect on all women regardless of economic stature, emotional intelligence, physical strength, and academic accolades. If you allow yourself to sit for any length of time in complete silence with no distractions, you will begin to hear your inner voice. The uncomfortability arises when we realize the distance between who we are in relationship to everything around us. This distance is referred to as the identity gap. The stuff/things, people, and circumstances around us have defined us for years. Who are we without the external identities, and who are we without the simulations these identities have fed us? The unveiling of this gap ignites our inner voice to ask…who do you really want to be?
Who Are You?
"Who Are You?" This is a good question, and we find it strenuous for women to answer. Strenuous may seem a harsh word to use. Still, when asked of women, the response is rarely quickly answered with confidence, articulation, and aspirations. The responses come from confusion as if the brain is processing in an unfamiliar way. The question is not to make you feel punished, yet why do we feel horrible and embarrassed not to know the answer? We take big breaths, frown,
raise eyebrows, and shrug our shoulders,
reinforcing the answer of "I don't know."
Who have we proven to be for all these years of living? We can look at this factual information as evidence to compare the outer identities we portray to the world around us vs. the inner world of who we are on the inside. Take off the weight of not knowing and being frustrated. You can begin to open up the door to understanding why this identity gap is happening.
Why is the Identity Gap Happening?
Your existence began with a medical professional identifying you. "It's a girl," was proclaimed, and the lace trims, hair bows, and pink baby outfits were given as gifts to celebrate you. When you look back at this western world's response to a baby's birth, do you ever shake your head and say 'huh?". Being told who you are as a person doesn't end with your medically identified sex at birth. We are immersed in years of development based on our environment. Layers of experiences, traditions, cultural backgrounds, personal history, choices, behaviors, etc., create who we are to the external world. The gap begins to grow over time, living in a world of conditions, have to's, and going through life's steps designed to keep you on a set path. Unfortunately, this path is not designed for a one way fits all scenario. The societal pressure to stay on track with social norms and lead resistance causes us to enter a quiet mode of numbing unknowingly. We get used to the numbing effect, not realizing this isn't our true self but a conditioned feeling and response.
As we meet women everywhere, we hear about these conditions. After years of experience, our environments damage our ability to identify with our purpose and identity. This inability to identify with our purpose creates the gap between who we are and who we want to be.
Who is The Identity Gap Happening to?
Suppose we understand the identity gap concerning ourselves and see why it's happening. In that case, dear God, is this happening to us? We like to be completely honest even when it may hurt a little, so the answer is YES! We have listed seven traits we see women acting out daily. These identities may seem like second nature, but only you know if the identity is helping or hurting you. Are you being true to yourself?
The top 7 identities creating a gap in who you are vs. who you want to be:
The Busy Bee
The SVU Olivia Benson
The Addict & Habitualist
The Blame Gamer
The Sleep Walkers
You may identify with one or more of these seven listed identities. We welcome you to listen to episode 3 of our 4 part series on the Identity Gap - Who is this Happening to?, on our Redesigning Your Relationships podcast for the descriptions of each identity.
Our thoughts and feelings are attached to the experiences, and we create innate behaviors from these conditions. We react and behave positively or negatively according to how we perceive these experiences.
When we do not take the time to understand ourselves, the identity gap remains or increases over time. Over time and unattended, we fall into the trap of a crisis or depression. Sometimes we are oblivious to these alarming conditions until it is too late. We become disconnected from reality or our life's purpose. This disconnect can be exhausting, continually trying to keep up with perceptions or fulfilling an unquenchable thirst to be understood.
How to Bridge the Gap
This idea of being connected within yourself looks different for everyone. It doesn't necessarily mean you're happy and outgoing or kind and considerate at all times. When you're connected and in tune with yourself, you can move through moments aligned with your deeper purpose. Being connected to yourself helps you be in tune with all the parts of you–the strong, the scared, the passionate, and the hurting. This connection gives you the best chance of being fully present, engaged, and grounded in all situations.
A gap requires a bridge. A bridge holds the tension, constantly pulling, tugging, and bearing the weight. The tension changes with the past, present, and future events and will require a strong foundation and lifelong upkeep to take the weight of what is, what was, and what could be.
Like a natural bridge, your metaphorical bridge will require the best materials and a solid plan.
Make a Decision
Fall in love with Yourself
Set a Goal & Plan
Once you make a decision, there will be discomfort. Facing uncomfortable truths about yourself or perceiving the distance in your gap will require work. This work may bring a significant inconvenience or change in your daily routines. You may not have all the answers right away, but be open to the many possibilities, knowledge, and intuition you already store inside that has yet to have an opportunity for discovery.
Don't be discouraged or depressed. If you relate and find yourself as one of the descriptions mentioned above, you are actually on the right path. You can feel more inspired and don't have to live in a state of lack or want. Once you see it and understand it, all you want to do is release it. Let's begin with thankfulness for the foggy glasses, the wiping away, and an internal awakening of enthusiasm for possibilities and transformation. Let's do this!
The Identity Gap
Part 1 - Who Are You?
Part 2 - Why is the Identity Gap Happening?
Part 3 - Who is the Identity Gap Happening to?
Part 4 - How Do We Bridge the Identity Gap?