Identity Crisis - or Illusions?

The world will tell you that success is achieving what you set out to do. It will tell you that success is winning, that finding recognition and/or prosperity are essential ingredients in any success. The conventional notion of success is concerned with the outcome of what you do. 

Don't let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment.  

- Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

"Don't let it become a part of who you are." 

This message has shown up inexhaustibly for me the past few weeks. My family, my friends, and coworkers alike have looked me straight in the eye and known that, in my very being, I started to take my life too seriously. 

I adore my job and wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Every day, I have experiences with people that genuinely move my heart.  

It's when that job (or that relationship, or that schoolwork, or those finances) shifts from enjoyable and fun to stressful, gives you anxiety, depresses you, and makes you forget those moving moments, that something has gone wrong.

You forget your passion. You forget your enthusiasm. You forget the light that you used to bring to the table every day. It's eclipsed by suffering. 

This is because you've made your success part of your identity, and your ego will stop at nothing achieve or maintain it. 

You may remember my post on Having it All, and this concept relates back to the same striving for success that I mentioned there.  

"Having it All" is one of the many illusions that society gets us to buy into that revolves around one thing - identity. We all have one. It's shaped by the names our parents gave to us, our interests, our relationships, how we decorate our lives. Unfortunately, our society has taken it even further and has sewn race, weight, class, religion, into our identities, in a big way.

Some of these things we've even gone to war for. 

That's all identity is, though - decoration. 

If we slow down on collecting objects, building credentials, being the perfect friend, putting our identities first, we can see what's behind the identity illusions. 

Our hearts.


1.) Take some time to reflect. Think about your day, collect your thoughts, make a list, or write down in a journal the ways you have sacrificed your happiness for an illusion of success. Allow yourself to feel whatever comes up for you. 

2.) Remember. At some point, you entered this relationship, chose this job, this area of study, because it made you happy. It excited you. Good news - you can call on it again. Call on those moments that made you feel complete. 

3.) Clear away the surface noise. Anxiety, depression, anger, fatigue, are obscuring your view of returning to love. After letting each feeling come up and experiencing them, meditate on those positive, irreplaceable moments of love.  

Gently close your eyes. Become aware of your surroundings and the positive, loving energy around you. 

Breathe in. Breathe out. 

Inhale: My purpose on this earth is to love. 

Exhale: The work that I do is a vehicle to bring love to the world. 

Inhale: I am a light. 

Exhale: My light extends to each corner, each relationship in my life. 

Continue to breathe in love, breathe out light, for twenty breaths.