Some people desperately hang on to their identities – even when they make them miserable. They might as well introduce themselves as, “Hi, I’m low self-esteem” or “Hi, I’m bad mother” or “Hi, I’m neurotic anorexic”. Or my personal favourite, “Hi, I’m not getting laid.”

To say, “This is who I am”, as if it is set in stone, is to cut yourself off from an awful lot of possibilities about who you might be. Focus on those possibilities instead of all those limitations.

Let’s put it like this: If you were healthy and sane, why would you seek to limit yourself? Why wouldn’t you aspire to reach the highest peaks?

Okay, so it might all go tits up; you might end up feeling disappointed and dejected. But I would suggest that going through life not even bothering would leave you feeling a lot more disappointed and dejected, ultimately.


Many people derive their sense of identity from their nation or, even, their favourite football team.

If your nation loses a war – even if it’s in another part of the world (aka Vietnam) – your life will be in crisis.

If your football team are struggling in the lower divisions, you will probably feel the same way about your life.

This is precisely why many leave their roots behind in an attempt to forge a new identity.

Hence the appeal of the United States to so many immigrants since its inception.

Well, “If they succeed, I succeed.”

Hence the attraction of the Brazilian football team and Manchester United:

“If they win, I win.”

The fact that you have never been to either Manchester or Brazil, that you have no links whatsoever with either Manchester or Brazil, no matter:

“If they win, I win.”

The fact that you focus all of your attention on Brazil and Manchester United, spending money and time on them that you cannot afford, no matter:

“If they win, I win.”

If I was you, I would hope they lose. Otherwise, you might not recognise the predicament that you are in, and just how you are terrified you are that everything might crash in on you at any moment.

You can’t keep bouncing that reality cheque. It must be paid, sooner or later.


The only thing I truly know about myself is that, in this moment, I am.

© Phillip A. Klein March 2008

Published in: on March 16, 2008 at 10:19 pm  Leave a Comment