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It Just Isn’t ME

July 30, 2013

“I’d never wear something like that. It just isn’t me.”

“I’d never go there. It’s just not me.”

“I can’t see myself buying something like that. It just doesn’t seem like me.”

Statements like this are cues indicating a rigid ego, an inflexible identity, a brittle and thus fragile self-image. Passage 76 of the Tao Te Ching reads:

Men are born soft and supple;
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.

The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.

Thus, a self-identity that resists change for the sake of continuity is a malady. You may have valid reasons for not doing something, at least right now, but if “that’s just not me” is your sole reason for doing or not doing something that other reasons are compelling you to not do or to do, then it calls for examination. Why is that not you? What do you gain from sticking to this position? There are always reasons, conscious or not, that we make decisions (or avoid making them). And if your reasons are unconscious or unexamined, you cannot know whether or not they serve the real you, the you that you consciously decide you want to be and intentionally create. Does this mean that self-identity should be abandoned? No more than grass should become unrooted every time the wind blows. But a self-identity that is rooted in reality and conscious decision is able to adapt continuously. Once you overcome the fear of changing you realize that the “self” is a concept that is continuously emerging, and that the “you” of one moment is never identical with the “you” of any other moment, and yet at the same time who “you” really are is always the same and can never change.

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