Identity fatigue will drain you of your mental energy
November 03, 2019
In Buddhism, one of the main themes is the illusion of identity. It means that who we think we are, is just a label we put on ourselves - a mental construct. It’s nothing real.
E.g., people tend to identify themselves after their profession. They say: “I am this kind of a person. I do this, and I don’t do that. I can do this thing, but I can’t do the other thing. I am a professional!”
When you meet someone new, does that person know your “identity”? No, they don’t. For them, you’re just a human being. That’s all they know before they get to know you.
By having an identity, we set boundaries for ourselves. Why would anyone do that? What’s the point of it? It’s useless to tell yourself what you can and can’t do or be.
Besides that, having an identity also means exerting mental energy. You have to evaluate and filter everything you do or say constantly. You’ll have thoughts like: “Does this fit with my identity?” or “Can I say this joke - I am a professional after all.”
I’ve mentioned the word” professional” for a couple of times. It’s because that is the identity for most people.
You’re not a professional! You just are. Stop worrying about some label. Yes, you absolutely can joke around in a business meeting if that’s natural to you. Express yourself! There’s no need to dumb yourself down to some generic soulless and dull character that no one will remember.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean to lose social intelligence and start acting in a meeting as if you do when you’re singing in the shower. That is not expressing yourself. That would be acting like someone who is not socially savvy. So, keep the social intelligence, but get rid of the identity.