This article will be redundant. It is done so to drive my point home…
There are a few things in life that will significantly impact the direction and quality of your life. The first, I believe, is your personal philosophy. Your philosophy about life is the major factor in how things will play out for you. A close second, and perhaps much more relatable and relevant to people, is with what group or groups you tie your identity to. How you identify yourself reinforces the story you tell yourself and others about who you are. I’m going to suggest to you that this is a mistake. By tying your identity to a group rather than who you are as a human and an individual can significantly diminish the quality of your life. I realize this will be controversial, but in order to progress as humans, the tribe mentality of our ancestors must disappear. This will not happen until people take control of their own fate, rather than living within the expectations and ideology of another group.
My reasoning behind this argument is simple–the story that you tell yourself about who you are impacts your beliefs and values, thereby influencing a major part of life that you should take responsibility for and think critically about. For example, if your identity is tied to an extremist religious group like ISIS, your values about how you should live and act towards others are not compatible with human life and liberty. You have significantly limited yourself and your world view. Let me suggest that your religious practices, whatever they may be, are not your identity. The same goes for any political organization that you affiliate with. I would advise against it becoming tied to “who you are”. By doing so, you are hampering your potential as a human.
I like Bruce Lee’s philosophy towards different styles of fighting. He refused to identify himself with one or another, instead taking the best from all different styles. Bruce Lee was a dedicated learner. His desire was to be better tomorrow than yesterday or today. That should be a common belief for all humans. By limiting yourself to a certain group, I believe you are limiting your potential and also allowing group mentality to influence your world view about how to act towards others. I have been known to say that you are not your thoughts. You are the one who listens to them. Likewise, you are not your religion, political affiliation, race, gender, sexual preference. I would advise against identifying with any group. It is this tribe mentality that causes so much pain and suffering. Islam vs Christianity. Gay vs. Straight. Male vs. Female. White vs Black. Conservative vs Liberal. It’s time to stop labeling and limiting yourself. To expand as an individual you must ditch the labels you have allowed to be placed on you. You are not a group. Groups do not think–they produce a way to think about things. Groups do not have rights (although they claim to). Only individuals do. Act like an individual and identify yourself as one.
So how should one identify? What story should they tell themselves about who they are? If it is true that you become the story you tell yourself, I strongly suggest getting a better story. So who are you really? You are a being that cannot be labeled. You are a gift to the universe. You are infinite potential. You are a factory producing infinite energy, love, compassion. Want a better world? Want a better life? Get a better story…and stop identifying with a group. You are not a group. You are a unique individual. You own your body and your mind. Do your own thinking. Drop the labels.