The ego, the identity

Our personal identity is like an egg. It has a shell to contain and protect us, but the shell can be brittle and easily broken. The yoke inside nourishes us, develops us and helps us grow. But it can very easily be scrambled.

Our deeply held beliefs make up the yoke. Our social personas make up the shell. The yoke is nourishing and the shell strong at the proper angle, but the yoke can be easily scrambled and the shell brittle when pressed from the wrong angle.

Identity gets formed

 

How we define ourselves is often developed in the the first six to eight years of life within a family context. As children we make assessments of ourselves as individuals; we make assessments about our social world; and more importantly we make assessments about how we as individuals fit into the social world. There is an interplay between how we see and define ourselves, and how we see and define the way we are going to interact with others.

Assessments turn into personal beliefs which is like an egg yoke. Then we form a shell to protect these personal beliefs or "identity". The shell is protective and is used to push against the outside world. The shell is what we show people because the yoke inside might be too fragile for others. 

The yoke is very delicate, and the shell become precious because it is brittle when pressed from the wrong direction.

The inside resembles the outside

Congruence is important. How we choose to personally define ourselves inside needs to be close to what we show others on the outside. If we seek to create an internal personal identity that is cooperative and kind, then the shell can reflect your inner self. The yoke is consistent with the shell.

When you are clear about your personal identity and you respect and appreciate your identity, this becomes the motivation to share and interact with others.

For example, your desire to see success in others could be how you define your inner world, "I help others". The shell you present to people could be the skills you have that lead people to success, "I can read the business environment".

Both are consistent and congruent with each other.

When you appreciate yourself, then you want to share yourself

When your internal identity is clearly defined, healthy, and appreciated by you, then your motivation to engage with the world is natural. Yes, there is always vulnerability because what you have to offer someone might not be what they need or want. This is ok because it means "this person" is not suitable for you and vice versa. 

When you appreciate your personal identity, then you appreciate the whole egg for its own worth. Your worthiness rests in your wish to "help others" and your ability to "read business environments". This worthiness moves you to connect with others. It's what you have to offer and it's based on your identity.

Ideally, our identities inspire us to interact, engage and share ourselves with others.

Writing exercises: yokes

As a child answer these questions:

  • When I was in grade 1, 2 or 3, secretly to myself, I defined my self as ...

 

and/or

  • When I was in grade 1,2 or 3 I would describe myself to myself as ...

Now as an adult, how would you like to change your childhood definitions of yourself. You can choose to identify yourself by how you've adjusted and thrived as an adult - and by how you wish to live the rest of your life.

 

  • "As a child I would say "I am ..." Now as an adult, I'd like to change my identity. Based on my experiences as a child - plus my adult experiences to date, now "I am ..."

Writing exercise: shells

 

The shell represents the skills and abilities you have to enact your identity (yokes). The shell is consistent with the yoke, and it shows people what you can do to enact the purpose of the yoke for them. Answer these questions:

  • While you are pursuing the goals of the yoke, what skills do most like using?

  • Who do you like using them with?

 

  • What are your favourite circumstances in which to apply these skills?

Writing exercise: a full basket of eggs

Put it all together in your own personal statement.

 

  • Write a paragraph based on how you define yourself as a person, "I am ..." (The yoke)

  • Write a paragraph based on the skills and circumstances you like the most when you are enacting your deeper "I am ..." statements. (The shell)

Reflect on the value and worth of this "basket of eggs". Reflect on how, "Just having the opportunity share these eggs with someone" is worth getting up for.

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© 2018 by James Lowe