Separating Behavior From Identity
It's a really, really great practice.
I have a small, very close sisterhood of friends who I talk to everyday. The thing I love most about our conversations is we are just as likely to talk about a good pair of boots as we are about trauma. Our conversations are uncontained, and in them we get to be too. I'm very curious about feeling uncontained, about feeling free, which is probably because I spent most of my life feeling the opposite (growing older, what a relief). A friend in the aforementioned sisterhood recently sent us her notes from a podcast she had just listened to. One bullet point jumped out at me: "We collapse behavior into identity." It made me think of myself in my teens and early twenties. I’m not sure that I knew how to define someone other than by their behavior. And I definitely used what I did (or didn’t do) on any given day to define myself. This sounded like “I got into x school, I am smart” one day and, “I didn’t get into x school, I am an idiot,” the next.
In my mid-twenties, I started to find space between what I did and how I defined myself. What changed? I started a job where I met these friends.