The Quest for True Identity

by Julie Kiewatt

Part 1

How well do you really know yourself?

Do you know you strengths and your weaknesses?

Do you listen to your intuition?

There seems to be the belief amongst most of society today that we have it all figured out. That we are ok with who we are and why we are the way we are. In observing and interacting with people from all walks of life, it is amazing how many believe this, and yet are completely lost and bound by fear. Why is this? … Because of the loss of True Identity.

There are three very important stages in life that each must master in order to find happiness and purpose. These are Identity, Intimacy, and Generativity. We must be proficient at one stage before we can begin the next successfully. In this day and age it is rare that one ever accomplishes all three and if they do, not with quality. We are in such a hurry to get to where we want to be that we rush through these stages with mediocrity rather than quality. In our impatience, we miss out on the pleasure and lessons along the Journey in our rush for the Destination. We reach the Destination only to find that it is not what we desired because we were not prepared for it!

The first stage is Identity; this is when we learn who we truly are underneath everything else… We look at our strengths and weaknesses in communications and knowledge and also our skills. This is when we are experimenting with who we are, how we react to others, and what we desire to do with our lives. Ideally this stage will be mastered before any romantic relationships begin. When you don’t know yourself completely, friendships and family can be difficult enough! In today’s society it is ideal if one can master this before college, but this rarely happens. We have our children so busy running around doing activities, school work, and spending time with friends that there is no time for them to just be themselves by themselves! What happened to spending time alone, every day?

Today, there are many in their 30s, 40s, and 50’s that have still not accomplished Identity! And we wonder why our relationships don’t work! To find your identity, first you must take time daily for yourself. This is NOT selfish! When the plane is going down, you must put the air mask on yourself first, or you will not be around to help others! Take time on your Journey without being so anxious for the Destination and you will start to enjoy it! Do thing that are good for you, meaning, use your strengths and accept your weaknesses! Learn to listen to your inner voice, your intuition.

*Homework assignmentJ: Take at least ½ hour to yourself everyday – during this time there should be no TV, no music, no friends, and no mind altering substances – Just You.

Next month you will learn about the second stage of Intimacy! Work on your Identity so you’ll be ready!

Some quotes:

Learn the alchemy true human beings know. The moment you accept what troubles

you’ve been given, the door will open. – Rumi

Make the present moment into your friend, not your enemy. – Eckhart Tolle

Know thyself. – Socrates

Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power. — Seneca

Part 2

Last month we discussed the stage of Identity, the first of three important stages of life. To review, Identity is knowing oneself and accepting positives and negatives. This includes being self-aware, meaning you realize what you say and do and how you react to others. To help yourself move through this stage, you must take time for yourself such as meditating, praying, or in silent reflection, and you must use your positives and not your negatives. Using your positives can be as simple as doing hobbies that incorporate skills that you are good at and enjoy, or you can set goals which will increase the use of positive aspects of your life and start to weed out the negative.

The three stages that we are discussing are Identity, Intimacy, and Generativity. Since we have gone over identity, we will continue on to intimacy. When people think of intimacy, they often think of romantic relationship, but really it is a part of all healthy relationships. Intimacy refers to the feelings of love, affection, and belonging in relationships. It occurs due to a deep bond that is developed by knowing another very well.

Some words associated with intimacy are transparency, vulnerability, and reciprocity. If you think about the meanings of these three words, you realize that it is difficult for one to be transparent, vulnerable, and to reciprocate feelings if they are not strong in themselves, in their Identity. This is why Identity must be stable before we can move more deeply into intimate relationships.

In the stage of Intimacy, friendships blossom due to trust. Questions are asked before accusations are made, and things are not taken personally because it is understood that the actions of others are due their own state of mind, not because of your own. You can see that with these healthy communication skills and self-knowledge that the likelihood of positive romantic relationships also increases.

So, if you believe that you are strong in your Identity, but are still struggling in the stage of Intimacy, you must once again look back at your own Identity. If you find yourself to be extremely frustrated or affected by the actions or words of another, look into yourself and see why it bothers you. Maybe you have chosen friends for yourself that are not healthy, or maybe you have unresolved issues from your past that are keeping your from having successful relationships.

I believe True Identity is a lifelong journey, but we must at least be stable and healthy in our identity before we can truly have intimate relationships. The key word in this discussion of Intimacy really is Love… We must love ourselves before we can ever truly love another. I help my clients to find their identity first, to love themselves, and then they can build strong intimate relationships. Next month we will discuss the final stage of Generativity.

*Homework – Continue taking at least ½ hour a day for yourself, try a new activity, and look at frustrations you have in your current relationships… how can you change the way in which you respond?

Some Quotes:

Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow. ~ Swedish Proverb

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. ~Oprah Winfrey

Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. ~Eric Fromm

Love is, above all, the gift of oneself. ~Jean Anouilh

Part 3

This series of articles has been discussing three important stages of life. Part 1 discussed Identity, Part 2 – Intimacy, and finally this month we will finish with the stage of Generativity. A quick review: Identity is knowing oneself and accepting who one is. Intimacy is being able to share oneself openly and honestly with others while retaining a sense of self. It is important to start and become accomplished at a level before trying to move onto the next too quickly… of course these levels overlap to a certain extent, but we must take care of one thing at a time otherwise we become lost and lose our own desires in exchange for those of others.

Generativity is a word that many are not familiar with. If you look, you will see the word generate… Generativity is when we are ready to look outside of ourselves and our families and to generate, create, and produce for the greater good of the world. This stage is one of optimism and hope in which we give back to the next generation with the belief that the world can and will be a better place.

If you look around you may see people volunteering to help at the local food bank, the humane society, or even just donating money instead of time. These are examples of beginning stages of Generativity. An individual that is fully involved in the stage of Generativity will be actively helping the world to be a better place in everything that they do. Their job most likely will in some way be helping others, they use their best qualities and characteristics everyday, act compassionately and lovingly in everything that they do… they lead by example.

The question has been raised “Why do you have to accomplish Identity, and Intimacy to help others?” I believe that at all stages of life we can help others, but to help others the MOST and to have the biggest impact on the world around us, we must first accomplish these steps. How can one teach without knowing? How can one lead others to live a balanced, healthy life if they don’t do so themselves? If we establish who we are, our Identity, we are then able to look beyond ourselves to our intimate relationships. Once Intimacy is accomplished, we don’t feel resentful of giving our time to others who may be unknown… we realize that the only important factor is that we are all human and because of that – we help.

In this new year, I challenge all of you to look inside yourself to find who you truly are… you may be surprised at what you find! The world is awaiting what YOU have to offer.

Some quotes:

You are not just a drop in the ocean. You are the mighty ocean in a drop! – Rumi

Everyone thinks of changing the world but no one thinks of changing himself. – Tolstoy

Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee, and do not try to make the universe a

blind alley. – Emerson