Day 48 (Identity)…

…is not forged in the crucible of life. It’s revealed.

Gee, Toto, only 48 days into this book and we keep feeling exposed — why do we keep having to talk about this?

The answer is simple, just not easy. This journey is iterative — gaining clarity on who we’re not helps with clarity on who we are, and vice versa.

Paradoxically, your true identity is your anti-anxiety pill. Most of us feel the opposite. We feel if people saw our true identity, we’d be scrambling for a fig leaf. This is what shame does. Shame is a false identity. Shame and fig leaves go together.

Controlled by past scars, fear, and our negative inner voice, shame has the same consequences today.   Instead of fig leaves we hide behind not-so sophisticated personas which only further undermine our fragile sense of self.  Personas for women and men may evolve differently but essentially shame looks the same.

“…shame, for women, is this web of unobtainable, conflicting, competing
expectations about who we are supposed to be. And it’s a straight-jacket.”

— Brene’ Brown, Listening To Shame, TEDS

“The three most destructive words that every man receives when he’s a boy
is when he’s told to ‘be a man’….

— Joe Ehrmann, A Season of Life, by Jeffrey Marx

Socrates said “know thyself” — not hide from thyself. Scars tell a story about stories that need told, not hidden. In The Lion King, Mufasa has to remind Simba, “remember who you are — you are more than you have become.” With age also comes baggage that clouds identity. In Hook, the Lost Boys of Neverland have to wipe away the corporate facade of grown-up Robin Williams before they can exclaim, “oh, there you are, Peter!” Kids get this. Volunteer for Junior Achievement and you’ll watch 5th graders expressing their identity with inspirational clarity and passion as each creates his/her own personal brand, logo and tagline.

When Michelangelo was asked how he knew his masterpiece was finished, he answered “it’s when everything that wasn’t David was sculpted away.” Ironically, after Michelangelo finished the David — his magnum opus — a shocked Queen Victoria ordered a fig-leaf plastered onto his masterfully sculpted manhood. As we master our BTL craft, our work is much like Michelangelo’s. Especially when it comes to identity, we are more sculptors than builders. We awaken our client’s inner child to re-discover their manhood/womanhood. challenge them to get more comfortable in their skin, and transform from fig leaves to naked authenticity.

At Friday’s BTL band practice with Jim Gant — American warrior and war hero — we were reminded it can take a moment of surrender to become free to be ourselves.

Time to get out your chisel and do another rinse of your “I ams”, friend. This time, less is more.

Embrace it. Live it. Love it (Thanks, Toto)…

3 thoughts on “Day 48 (Identity)…

  1. Perfect message, John. Thank you. This side of heaven, during our time on this earth, it’s a worthy journey and the process that we get to take Together. My Worldview affirms that Surrender to our Good God, our loving Creator, Redeemer and Friend is the way to freedom, joy, love and Oneness. Oneness within and with one another. As Steve Jobs used to say…’why wouldn’t we want this?’. Why, indeed.

  2. As I’ve been wrestling with some “I am not’s…” knowing that clarity has been gained and that this frees up more space for “I AM…” has been so helpful. In Bible study yesterday I was fairly quiet till the end, and let some truth flow. I wasn’t sure what it would incite in others, but I knew it had to be said. Lo and behold, many messages were received throughout the day…and they were all full of love and gratitude. I AM a good messenger for the word, and I AM a good truth teller.

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