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It’s true what they say… When you reach your 50’s, you are less inclined to care what other people think. Or, put another way, it becomes more important to be true to who you are than shaping yourself into someone else’s idea of who you should be.

It seems that many people are experiencing a shift in identity right now, they feel a need to make quite big changes in their lives. The urge and desire to be authentic and truthful to who we are seems to be a theme. And, it has become more prevalent in recent months. I know, as this happened to me too.

Do we use our identity as an excuse or as inspiration? Just as our identity can limit our world and hold us back, it can be supportive, expansive, and empowering. But we can also use it to hide behind…

My journey of crafting a life where I didn’t have to pretend to be someone that I am not started in the early 2000’s. Over the past 20 years my pendulum has swung from one end to the other – from logic and linear thinking to all things spiritual and personal development. At this point in my life the pendulum is back in the middle, the two ends of the spectrum are coming together, creating something new.

My first conscious identity shift happened in 1995, I was 28 years old. The year before I had moved abroad for the first time. I had accepted a newly created role at the company headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany. At first I didn’t know anybody. Over time, I got to know other expatriates in the office. After having met up for drinks in The Altstadt with my new friends one evening, I remember thinking that I didn’t have to be the same person as I had been in Sweden. Nobody knew me from before. I could reinvent myself, should I want to. I could choose to show up differently.

Around the time that my maternal grandmother passed away in 2003, I started to become aware of other “forces” in play. An awareness of her presence beyond death was the beginning of believing that there is more to life than what we can hear, see, and touch. I started to experience pins and needles in my palms, something that I instinctively knew was more spiritual than medical. And out of nowhere, I became aware of new perspectives or new ideas and thoughts that I could not explain.

My second conscious identity shift happened in 2006. The year prior, I had moved abroad a second time, this time to England. A few weeks after I had settled into my new home in St Albans, life handed me two identity shifts wrapped into one. The move inspired me to start journaling, a practice that deepened by a serendipitous talk at a local crystal shop, where a medium seemed to speak directly to my recent life changes. How could she know? I had moved hundreds of miles, even countries! I started to experience a distinct physical feeling in response to questions, a feeling that can best be described as “tingles and a light squeeze on my upper arms”. An experience that I could not create at will, I still can’t. My nickname for it became “The Squeeze”. I decided to “cast caution to the wind” and made a decision to believe that it is possible that there is more to life than what we can see, hear, and touch. I thought to myself, what’s the worst that could happen? The immediate answer, “That nothing changed”. I didn’t have to worry. Thanks to my decision to believe that it was possible, my life and reality opened up in unexpected ways. I was forever changed.

The second part of this identity shift involved my work life. I had continued to work for my Swedish employer after moving to England. For tax reasons I had to set up my own company, and so I became a sole trader. Up until this point, I had only ever been an employee. My employee mindset dictated what was possible. Bewildered, I started the somewhat semi-complicated process of shifting my employee mindset.

The above are just a few examples when my core has received major upgrades.

In my younger years I thought of identity as something that would help me fit in. It had more to do with what I did than who I was. It was something that would help my corner of the world make more sense. And at times I used identity as an excuse to not push myself beyond my comfort zone.

These days, I tend to think of identity as what I believe is possible and what I am capable of. I have shifted from someone who relied on external guidance, to someone who is committed to listening to my intuition and inner guidance in all aspects of my life.

There is no guide book or manual for how to be and what to do when identity shifts show up.

Standing out, choosing a different life path, standing my ground, and not feeling guilty for prioritising my values, well~being, and lifestyle has been challenging at times. But, learning to trust my inner compass and letting go of other people’s expectations has brought peace and contentment. And, as a result, I experience a deeper sense of alignment, clarity, and simplicity. And to top it off, there is spiritual freedom.

As I stepped into 2024, my focus on conscious self~leadership, values~led business, holistic systems~thinking, and intuitive guidance and analysis sharpened. I had recently embraced my gift for intuitive systems~thinking, integrating both logical and intuitive aspects of my being into all aspects of my life.

Recent insights reveal that my journey is not just about personal growth but about leading by example, showcasing how integrating our entire being – mind, body, and spirit – can lead to a fulfilling and impactful life and career. The story and journey continues.

What are your thoughts on identity? What role does it play in your life?