For far too long people have tried to perpetuate their opinions, views and ideas of whom they think I am or whom they think I should be onto my life. I’ve spent over a decade hearing things such as, “You’re too extreme”, “You’re too difficult”, “You’re too emotional”, “You’re too anti social”, “You’re too naïve”, “You’re unrealistic”, “You’re living in a fantasy/bubble”, “You dress up too much”, “You wear too much makeup”, “You don’t look good without makeup”, “You’re too fat”, “You’ve gotten too skinny”, “You have up too many walls”, “Your expectations are way too high”, “You’re paranoid”, “You’re too aggressive”, “You’re too soft”, “ You’re conceited”, “You’re judgmental”, “You need to grow some balls”, “You’re too boring”, “You need to get out more”, “You’re weird”, “You’re eccentric”, “You’re too sarcastic”, “You play too much”, “You can’t do that”, “You wanna do too much at once”, “That’s never gonna happen” and of recent, “your dreams are too complex” and “You’re wired differently.” My point of listing all of these is to say one thing: I CAN NOT PLEASE EVERYONE. And guess what, neither can you.
What I’ve learnt over the years and after all of these labels were thrown at me, however, was that the people who told me these things – and truly believed it – care so much about what ‘others’ think about them, that they’ve somehow convinced themselves that they now have the right to become the ‘others’, in my life. But oh were they so wrong!
You see when someone tries to trick you into thinking you are not what you were designed to be, that my friend is called IDENTITY THEFT. And though constructive criticism and the opinions and support of others are important, what we should never allow to happen is for someone else to determine/steal our identity. Identity theft is a crime.
Now, if you’re someone who is ok with allowing others to validate who you are first, or you’re so certain about your identity – especially if it looks like everyone else’s on social media – then this post isn’t for you. However, if, like many of us, you’ve struggled with trying to find your place, being accepted, often misunderstood, a misfit or knew from very young that you’re a bit different than everyone else, then you should probably continue reading.
Picture this for a moment. If, one day, someone grabs your cell phone or handbag from your hands, speed off and begin yelling to everyone around that you don’t even own a handbag, then you’re probably going to react in one of two ways. You’re either going to try running after them or report the crime to the authorities, not so? You definitely won’t sit back and believe that you never owned a handbag or cell phone in the first place. Well, why then do you sit back and allow others to scream all these labels at you. “You’re not good enough!” “You need to lose weight!” “It’s not me, it’s YOU!” And never think of this too as a crime?
Why do we sit back and allow others to rob us from who we’re born to be? The enemy’s number one tactic is to have you not know who you are. And so, time and time again you will come across many posts on identity, purpose, self awareness, journey to self-discovery and the likes, because I think it is so important that we continue to stress, highlight, educate, encourage and cultivate ourselves about ourselves. Anything else, will be allowing the crime of identity theft to become the norm.
“But how do I define my identity Kay?” or “How would I know I’m this way or that way unless someone points it out? I can’t always see my faults.” Well, what I’ve also learnt is if your identity, your character, your personality, your concept of yourself is being defined by anyone else but God, then you will have a 100% missed view of who you’re supposed to be. In other words, you were created in the image and likeness of someone greater than you. Why then if you’re struggling with self, don’t you seek that person. Seek God.
Myles Munroe once said, “Where the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse in inevitable.” In this context, what that means is if you do not have a clear indication of who you are or who you’re striving to become, then you open yourself up to be abused by everyone else. Identity theft is abuse.
Now what I have also been guilty of, is trying to put people in the place of my identity. And this may sound silly to you, but it’s more common than you think. You see when we invest into relationships, without even realizing it many times we replace our identity, our goals, our desires, and even our standards with that of the other person. We often start to become more like that best friend than we expected even though we were two completely different people to begin with. We often fall in love and get so blinded that we forget how to be an individual because we can no longer see our lives without that person. We socialize with business partners and their ambitions, greed and ego begin to rub off on us especially when we see how they’re supposedly prospering and we want to be successful too. And it happens in all of our relations with others. My point is, when we spend time investing in and opening ourselves to others, more than we spend time cultivating who we are as individuals first, we then open ourselves to the inevitable abuse.
Not only do we experience abuse, but allowing other people’s identities to become our own, also leads to disappointment. You see, we often begin to believe the myth that we’re not good enough or that someone else can make us better, or even that we’re nothing without that person so much that we never become who we’re meant to be. And no matter how much we fake it, appear to be happy or settle, we will always suffer from an inner disappointment. Identity theft leads to disappointment.
And this is because no one else has the power to fill the position of your identity besides you. So no matter what others say about you, even if you believe it, begin to act like it (self fulfilling prophecy) or have been brainwashed to accept it, another person will never be able to fill that space that’s meant for your identity.
P.S. You were not born just to become someone’s wife. Who are you without him? You were not born just to walk in the shadows of your father. If you didn’t bare his surname, who would you want to be? It doesn’t matter if all of your friends collectively agree that you should be this way, what do you want to be? Catch my drift here?
The act of identity theft is less about the unauthorized taking of a victim’s personal possessions and more so about the perpetrator of this crime taking one’s information and then using it in an unauthorized way for their own gain. Identity thieves can use our identities to commit all sorts of crimes such as illegally entering/exiting a country, trafficking money, bank fraud and almost any crime imaginable in your name. But, what I think is the worst form of identity theft is when we allow these thieves to make us believe that we are what they say we are or aren’t.
And so today I dare you to stop accepting what every one else – especially those who don’t even know their identity- tell you about yours. You’re not too much of anything; you’re just too good for them. In fact, absolutely nothing is wrong with you. You just need to start showing your ID to people of quality, in places of quality and to those who deserve to see it. And even if people say you’re too much of something or you feel like you’ve lost yourself along the way, remember, only you have to power to take your identity back! It’s never too late to reclaim your identity.
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