One of the many books that I am reading right now is called, Breaking the Habit of being Yourself. I can tell you that it does have some information (science) that goes a bit over my head, yet it also provides very relatable information to me as I take an active role in creating positive change for me in my life. I know now that I cannot change others, but just being an example of what is possible when we make a conscious effort to change, we help others see their own potential to do the same. Below I have included a glimpse into the book and if you like what you hear/read, you may want to invest in the book. I am also going to share a few key parts of Chapter 7, called The Gap. I feel that as I was reading that chapter another area of my insight to my present and future self took another important shift. One that only I can recognize for myself and who knows, maybe if I share these few things with you (a small glimpse of the few words off the pages of that chapter), you may find yourself looking to bring more awareness into your own personality and growth. I do believe that there are many ways for each of us to find the "ah-ha" moments we seek to find and this may or may not bring about a few for you.
Breaking the Habit of Being Myself
- Joe Dispenza
Knowing this now [after the past month on my own journey of basically putting life to a screeching halt - which to many (including me) didn't make a lot of sense], allows me to understand. I didn't understand a month ago why I was feeling the way that I was, but I knew that even though I didn't understand, I was ready to change - and I knew that required stopping the "habits" I was doing daily, to create new ones - the how does show up. This book (thanks for the reminder Tinya) came back into my awareness at the right time. Learning is MY job and finding the right tools are honestly coming to me without a lot of thought, I am open and willing, therefore the right people, events, books and other resources are showing up for me. As PK Smith says, once we know the WHAT, the HOW is not our business but will show up when we are ready to be present. So often we know the "what" but we are not taking the time to truly listen to the gifts presenting themselves to allow us to create the "what" that we desire. Sometimes we do only what others are doing and in all honesty, what others do, may not be what we need to do to get the same result. Trusting ourselves is important and mandatory when we go through a change that we've often just talked about wanting, but not moving forward.
It occurred to me that I was so busy that I had no time to actually practice what I was teaching.
This was an unnerving moment, because I began to see that all of my happiness was created from outside of me, and that the joy I experienced when I was travelling and lecturing had nothing to do with real joy. It appeared to me that I needed everyone, everything, and everyplace outside of me in order to feel good. This image that I was projecting to the world was dependent on external factors.
The sad truth is that if you had asked me at one of those moments, I would have probably responded: Yes, things are great.
But if you had caught me in a quiet moment, when all those other stimuli weren't bombarding me, I would have responded in a completely different manner: Something's not right. I feel unsettled. Everything feels like the same old, same old. Something is missing.
On the day I recognized the core reason for my unhappiness, I also realized that I needed the external world to remember who I was. My identity had become the people I talked to, the cities I visited, the things I did while I was traveling, and the experiences I needed in order to reaffirm myself as this person called Joe Dispenza. And when I wasn't around anyone who could help me recall this personality that the world might know as me, I wasn't sure who I was anymore. In fact, I saw that all of my perceived happiness was really just a reaction to stimuli in the external world that made me feel certain ways. I then understood that I was totally addicted to my environment, and I was dependent on external cues to reinforce my emotional addiction. What a moment for me. I had heard a million times that happiness comes from within, but it never hit me like this before.
These paragraphs above were like a window into myself. As if I was the person behind the words, the author of these pages. Joe wrote in a way that I instantly connected with his message and I felt that I could relate 100%, yet I just hadn't been able to put it into words just yet.
THE IDENTITY GAP
Dr. Dispenza describes something called the Identity Gap by imagining you have one hand on top and one below (as if you were holding a ball in between). The top hand represents how we appear. This includes our Identity that we project to the outer environment. Who we want others to think we are, the facade or ideal for the world. The bottom hand represents who we really are. This is how we feel, who we really are, how we are inside, the ideal for the self. It is as if we are two separate entities. This was the realization I was having just about a month ago...one where I knew I couldn't keep going on the way that I was. It was time to "close the gap" and show up as who I really am! Yet in order to do that, I had to get really clear and be completely honest with myself about who I am now and if changes need to be made, who was I becoming?
He goes on to explain that in that GAP we have layers of emotion, such as, unworthiness, anger, fear, shame, self-doubt, guilt. Sound familiar to anyone you know? No, I didn't think so! Here is some awareness now happening for most of us - right?
Layer by layer, we wear various emotions, which form our identity. In order to remember who we think we are, we have to re-create the same experiences to reaffirm our personality and the corresponding emotions. As an identity, we become attached to our external world by identifying with everyone and everything, in order to remind us of how we want to project ourselves to the world.
How we appear becomes a facade of the personality, which relies on the external world to remember who it is as a "somebody". Its identity is completely attached to the environment. The personality does everything it can to hide how it really feels or to make that feeling of emptiness go away; I own these cars, I know these people, I've been to these places, I can do these things, I've had these experiences, I work for this company, I am successful...It is who we think we are in relation to everything around us.
But that is different from who we are-how we feel-without the stimulation of our outer reality: Feelings of shame and anger about a failed marriage. Fear of death and uncertainty about the afterlife, related to the loss of a loved one or even a pet. A sense of inadequacy due to a parent's insistence on perfectionism and achievement at all costs. A sense of stifled entitlement from having grown up in circumstances barely above poverty. A preoccupation with thoughts of not having the right body type in order to look a certain way to the world. These kinds of feelings are what we want to conceal.
This is who we truly are, the real self hiding behind the image we are projecting. We can't face exposing that self to the world, so we pretend to be someone else. The person whom we assume others will accept.
We use everything that we know in the external world to define our identity, and to distract us from how we really feel inside. And since all of these unique experiences produce myriad emotions, we notice that those emotions seem to take away any feelings that we are hiding. And it works for a while.
Dr. Dispenza goes on to share that most of us get to a point around our 30s and 40s (sometimes referred to as a midlife crisis) where some people go further into a place of stuffing the emotions and feelings down and turn to other things or addictions to feed their internal emptiness or emotional state (staying busy with work, gambling, drinking, spending excess amounts of $, technology). Pretty much anything you can imagine that changes your internal state to "feel" better, can become a way to become distracted and make the feelings go away that are inside.
Who knew, but many of us can likely relate to this - I know that it hit home for me. Technology and spending became my addiction. Ironically spending on myself isn't where I spend, I spend on others consistently. Give, give, give...it fills me up and so I keep spending to give more. Now I question myself about why I do it? Am I trying to fill a gap? It is my escape? Or is it just a part of me that is ok? I personally do believe that giving provides me with so much gratitude from within, yet maybe the form of giving becomes the area of concern. (giving to the point that I leave nothing left for myself or my loved ones) Which is what brings me to the day in October...something has to change. And it starts with me. I knew that I deserved to continue to grow based on the needs I have within me. I was putting trust in everyone else, but no trust in myself. I love to give to others but I got to a place of feeling used, manipulated and resentful - this wasn't anyone else's fault...I created it. Changing my mind, unlearning what I have to re-invent myself, means to me, it is time to grow into the next phase of who I deserve to become so that I can continue to give even more, without drying out my own well.
What questions do you deserve to ask yourself right now? Are you also feeling as though you have two identities? What are you personally doing to "fill the gap" or to try to show up externally in one way to avoid being the truest version of yourself.
I appreciate this book and especially this chapter because, it not only helps me in my own growth journey, but it helps me to realize that even when many people appear to have it "all together", they have either already done the work on themselves to get to that place, or they are living their own life with the Gap, also. I am not judging but I am learning to be gentle with myself and others knowing that this is common and quite possibly happens to us all.
My feeling is that when we continue to live this way for too long, we create inner turmoil and pain which ultimately creates a life we are ashamed of or one where we experience more suffering than happiness. I believe that the sooner we can move beyond the place of being two different identities and connect with our TRUE self, we can become free to live a free and fulfilled life. People can appear happy, but if they are they are showing up as one person, yet live in privacy as another, we know that not only is it possible for them to change, if they wish to, but they will most likely create a life of fulfillment, passion and purpose. (I recommend buying this book and many others as I recommend on my resources page)
I was READY to live with more purpose, passion, fulfillment and joy...but I didn't just want to "paint the picture", I wanted to be in the picture. Now is a great time to let your inner light shine. If today is a day of much pain, resentment, anger, sadness etc...let this be your first day of healing. It will not happen overnight, it will however happen as you take it one step at a time. You and only you, have the gifts to change your inner world. As you do that, your outer world will shift for the better also. You will no longer feel the need to put on your masks with your outer world, you will be free from the masks, free from the chains and you will help others in the process to become free also.
Trust yourself, you have so much within yourself to do everything that makes you happy! It begins with changing your brain.