Today, I wanted to talk to you about identity. More specifically, your locus of identity. It’s a fancy way of asking an IMPORTANT question:
Who are you?
And, in this case, this question has exactly two answers:
- You are who you think you are.
- You are who others think you are.
Internal Locus of Identity
If you have an internal locus of identity, your image of yourself comes from within. You know who you are. You have a strong opinion about yourself and other people cannot change (easily) what you think of yourself.
This looks like confidence.
External Locus of Identity
On the other hand, if you have an external locus of identity, your vision of yourself is defined by what others think of you. You are easily swayed by other people’s opinions and do a lot to keep up appearances.
This looks a lot like insecurity.
Both of these methods have their plusses and minuses. If you have a very strong internal locus of identity – every thing is fine as long as you have a good opinion of yourself.
But, the trouble starts when you have an extremely positive or negative opinion of yourself. Too positive and you could be perceived as arrogant; Too negative and you end up in depression.
I’ve done both.
Similarly with a strongly external locus of identity, there are problems too. If everyone’s always thinking and talking only good stuff about you – and you believe that, you could end up emotionally stunted and not ready for real life. If everything is negative, you start believing it and beat yourself up.
Yep. Been there, done that too.
Dealing With The Different Loci
Honestly, you need to sit and think this one through. You need to know where your locus lies – this knowledge alone will give you tremendous power yourself.
Now, you can examine every action you take and ask yourself – “Why am I doing this?” – and the honest answer will tell you if you’re doing the right thing.
Note 1: Personally, I recommend having a strong, positive, internal locus of identity. That’s what I have and it frees me up from a lot of drama in life.
Note 2: If you have an internal locus of identity, ensure that you do ‘reviews’ with yourself to make sure you’re on track.
Note 3: If you have an external locus, quit social media. The fear of missing out and constant social media updates really, REALLY fuck up your head. Honest.
P.S. Quit social media anyway. You’ll save a bunch of time.