I want to have a chat with you today about the rollercoaster that is the identity death and rebirth that you experience during any big changes and transformation work.
It’s worth talking about for so many reasons, including that it hugely helps you understand certain thoughts and feelings that are highly likely to come up for you.
It also helps in understanding why it can sometimes feel so tough and even when we really want to change something and why we might procrastinate and avoid it and feel like we’re in a constant battle with ourselves.
We have to start by being honest that any big change is normally a total identity shift.
Sometimes referred to as an ‘ego death’.
The ego is literally the sense of self and what protects that sense of self.
It’s a huge part of the work of Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s journey.
It’s your very own little hero’s journey, and we all know how they tend to pan out.
Usually these ego deaths are absolutely for the better, but it involves you going against your current unconscious wiring and programming which funnily enough, registers as a life or death situation to your nervous system and your ego to get to the other side.
The rebirth or awakening if you will.
So whatever change you’re currently in, whether it’s a new career, a new business, navigating loss of any kind, weight changes, all the various phases of parenthood, anything. You’re going to bump up against a few things along the way.
Trust the process and trust that it’s leading you to where you’re meant to be and somewhere where you’re even more ‘you’.
It’s stripping back the layers of the onion to get back to who you really are at your core.
And it can sting!!
Please get all the support you need too, you don’t have to go it alone. That support might look like a friend, a coach, a mentor, therapist or body worker.
They will absolutely speed up the process and turbo charge your growth.
I’ve had so many identity deaths and rebirths in my life and I think it’s a nice exercise to recognise these and write them down as a reminder of how strong and capable you are.
A reminder of what you learned in the process.
A reminder that you’ve overcome every single one of your worst days.
Everything is temporary and evolves and that’s a GOOD thing but something that many of us fear immensely because it’s uncertain and unknown.
My previous identities feel so foreign and unrecognisable to me now, I don’t identify with them in the slightest but I have 100% love, gratitude and compassion for every single one of those parts and previous versions of me.
Your identity is wholly tied up in your unconscious programming, your upbringing, values and beliefs you hold about yourself and the world.
A lot of it is around the boxes you put yourself into.
The experiences you’ve had. The job you have. The level you’re at. The salary you earn. The place you live. The people in your life. The relationships you have.
Pay attention to when you make ‘I am’ statements and how you label yourself.
All of this combines to create our identity and who we believe we are.
Now, when we’re going through a death and rebirth of our selves there are certain stages you might find yourself in, which even if they’re not so fun, you can recognise as progress in absolutely the right direction.
One thing that frequently comes up is questioning EVERYTHING about who you are and what you believe. ‘Who am I if i’m not this thing or if I don’t have this thing’.
Remembering that the old version of you might already be ‘dead’ and no longer around and a new version of you is coming, but you might be in the inbetween stage where you haven’t fully figured it all out yet.
It can often feel messy and confusing and that’s ok. It’s part of the process and needs to happen and is a really natural and often necessary part of our growth as a human.
You might feel a lot of confusion and a big state of feeling unsettled.
The way i’ve always described it to friends when it comes to myself is ‘discombobulated.’ You can’t quite put your finger on it but you definitely don’t feel yourself.
You might feel all the emotions under the sun, it can feel like a complete rollercoaster. Please try not to suppress this and let yourself feel what you feel and allow yourself some compassion because it can be, or at least feel like, deep grief that you’re feeling an it needs to be allowed to be there and processed.
The cocoon phase is a big part of it. This can feel partidularly confusing if you identify as a social butterfly. You might want to be by yourself a lot. It’s a phase and not forever so listen to it rather than beating yourself up for it. You might feel a desire to isolate yourself from others during this phase. Which is ok, try to communicate it with people though because if you do, they feel informed and won’t make up stories about you not caring about them and then you can enjoy your cocoon guilt free so communication really does make this phase easier ironically.
You might find yourself relating less to your friendship circle. The fun part of this that i’ve found every time is the new friendships and relationships that develop. Society puts a lot of worth onto longevity but I actually find a lot of the time the people that you meet later in life, particularly after a few deaths and rebirths of self, are the ones that you REALLY resonate with and might be your ‘lifers’.
So it’s clear to see why we might resist it. It can be scary. But remember you still have choices and communication goes a long way.
Let things fall away that are meant to fall away. It doesn’t mean it will always be that way. I’ve had friends who fell away for certain phases of my life and came back and we’re closer now than before.
It’s an evolution.
It’s learning to feel safe to let go.
Know it’s the right thing for right now and trust that if that person or thing is meant to be in your life it will be.
The next phase will see you potentially feeling things like a sense of pride or gratitude. A sense of increased self worth and self compassion. You might find yourself smiling more, feeling more capable, stronger.
So if you’re in the midst of being a glorious little ‘changeling’ and experiencing your own death and rebirth of self and the ego then I see you, I feel you, good on you, you’re a rockstar, i’m proud of you and I hope you can’t wait to meet yourself, it’s going to be so worth it!
Fran Excell, Success Mindset Mentor at www.franexcell.com – Helping Business Owners & Executives Overcome Stress & Self Sabotage so they can get back their time, get off the emotional rollercoaster and feel more in control.
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