Identity theft is scary. In the 1995 movie, “The Net,” Sandra Bullock’s character’s identity is taken over. A computer hacker has made it impossible to use her credit cards, and has given her a new identity complete with a police record.
Although I hope I never have to deal with it, I cannot imagine the huge headache it would be to prove to people that I am who I say I am.
I wonder how many people allow their identities to be “stolen” in different ways. I was watching “The Cosby Show” today and Denise was commending Sandra and Elvin for dropping out of graduate school to follow their own dreams. She was proud of them for not trying to become carbon copies of her parents.
I’m never one to commend or encourage quitting. I do think it’s a good idea for someone to follow his or her own path. It’s something that the Bible reminds parents, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Psalm 22:6).
I believe who we are is a combination of what is given to us at birth, how our experiences shape us, and what we decide to be. At some point we become self aware enough to try to sort out this combination and decide who we really are.
About the same time, we realize that other people have different ideas of who we are and what we should do and where we should go. Sometimes it’s a slight pressure; sometimes it’s extremely painful to deal with. Either way, if we don’t make an effort to figure out who we are, we cannot made adequate decisions to move forward, to grow in the direction we wish to go.
I read about a depression therapy where the client is encouraged to come up with 10 positive assets about themselves, and ask friends to help if necessary. Then he is supposed to keep the file and add to it whenever someone says something affirming. What a great way to start discovering who you are.
I’ve used this quote by E.E. Cummings before, but it is so apropos: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”