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7 Steps to Losing Yourself

The form of your life collapses when you give anyone else in your life authority over your identity. Most people are so tenuously possessed of their own identity that they can’t possibly take proper care of yours alongside their own, even if it were truly possible to do so (it isn’t).

It’s impossible because giving away your authority happens by a process of you developing your understanding of yourself through interpreting the meaning behind others’ words and actions toward you.

These are the steps* to outsourcing your identity:

  1. Your essence reveals a *tiny itty bitty* piece of itself through your presentation in the world.

  2. An *even tinier piece* of your presentation in the world makes an impression or impact on someone else.

  3. They filter the impact you’ve had on them through their own life experience, traumas and momentary moods, and make decisions about you (or don’t; how many of us have been scorned by the apathy of another?).

  4. They say certain words to you, treat you in certain ways.

  5. You decide what their words mean, what their intentions were, what their treatment of you means. You give more or less weight to certain words or actions, based on what other authority figures have told you about yourself.

  6. You decide that those meanings are true about you, reflective of you, that they are worthy of being part of your identity.

  7. You relate to this identity as foreign, because it has nothing to do with your essence, so your essence must reject it, and then you project the feelings you have toward that identity onto the person whom you’ve placed in charge of your identity.

Every step provides countless opportunities for error. Every step is like building a bridge by standing on the farthest out 2x4 and nailing another 2x4 to the end so you can stand on that one. You *will* fall.

You’re learning to be ok based on how you react to what other people tell you, and what other people tell you can never ever be about you. It can only be about them.

You’re basing your entire identity on something that has nothing whatsoever to do with you, and then you’re deciding that you didn’t have a choice about how to craft your identity.

Even if you built a rock solid identity, an identity that really worked for you in the world, an identity that was flexible and durable and comforting and capable, it STILL wouldn’t be your essence. At its very best, your identity can only be a good approximation of your true essence. But it helps a lot to know yourself as the author of that identity, especially considering that nobody else has as much access to your *true* essence as you do.

“The map is not the territory.”
Alfred Korzybski

*These seven steps are a system of experiencing the world, but they are not the only system available. In Operating System, we can add a new one so smooth and efficient and perfect for you it might take over the whole show.

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