Identity: The Dangers of Suppression

"Who am I?"

No small question, to be sure.

I spend a lot of time thinking, teaching, speaking and writing about identity and its manifestations in myself and my clients. Who are you as a healer? How does your Soul's Mission express itself? What parts of your Medicine are ready to be claimed? These are all sub-questions of that core inquiry: Who am I?

Up until recently, the concept of identity seemed to me to only be a net positive process of investigation. In other words, of course it's a good thing for people to discover and claim all parts of themselves! A few weeks ago, however, I had a startling revelation that has drastically altered my viewpoint on the universal implications of claiming our identities.

In the way that we remain casually connected with people through social media, I saw the coming-out declaration of an old classmate of mine. In a lovely and articulate post, she introduced herself as a transgender woman and showed her true face to the world. One line in particular struck me deeply: "This past year, as I approached my 30th birthday, I realized that while everyone else was exceedingly happy with who I was, I was decidedly not, and, if I didn't do something about it, I knew I wouldn't make it to my 40th."

As the implications of this sunk in, I realized that while it is not only a positive and healthy thing for us to claim and honor our identities, NOT doing so is not a neutral choice, it is an ACTIVELY DETRIMENTAL and DANGEROUS one. The results of suppressing or ignoring any part of our true selves are damaging and potentially life-threatening.

I was staggered. Something had clicked for me in a new way as I thought about all the means that so many of us take to shut down or stifle parts of ourselves. When it comes to our fundamental existence, there is no such thing as neutral: we are living and thriving, or we are withering and dying.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Let's think about this from the societal perspective. The way we behave and the choices we make in the world gives permission and sets the tone for other people to do the same. We are resonant beings whose frequencies respond to each other, so when people in a society are well, happy and fulfilled, it ripples out to others. The same is true for disharmonious frequencies. When people are unwell, unhappy and suppressed, that ripples out as well.

It is imperative, therefore, not only for our own health and well-being, but for that of ALL beings, that we choose to fully claim and honor all parts of our identities. If we don't, they wither, and we collectively create a society of slowly dying people.

I say this not to induce despair, but to emphasize the vital nature of this question: "Who am I?" If we don't fully know who we are, how can we honor those deepest parts of ourselves? How can we give life to and nurture the many faces of our infinitely complex being? How can we grow and thrive and, together, cultivate a society where all beings are inspired and given permission to fully express the truth of their hearts?

From one Warrior of the Light to another, I promise to keep asking myself that question every day so I can continue to honor all parts of my being. I do so not only for myself, but for the health and well-being of ALL beings.

So I ask you, now:

Who are you?