7% of Americans were victims of identity theft in 2014. And I believe that number is a lie.
Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt the Bureau of Investigation's data about the 17.6 million people in the US who had their credit card and other personal information compromised last year.
I just happen to believe that there is another form of identity theft that is an epidemic in our culture. The scariest part? We are all accomplices to the crime.
I recently caught up with a friend who is healing from the breakup of a long term relationship. Part of that process includes trying to reclaim her own identity. As she explained to me on text.
"I used to have to ask for permission for everything. He would say what color nail polish he liked, what hair color, insist that my depilatories were done before seeing me, made sure that I wore the dresses and heels that he liked, that I studied that major he wanted me to study when I went back to school.
In the end, I had no identity and I had to find myself entirely."
And if we are all being honest, we can admit that, we too, have compromised our true selves to make other people happy.
The reality is that most of us grew up in an environment that has taught us to suppress our creativity and natural desires. From a young age, we are taught by our parents, teachers, and even the media, how we should act, what we should aspire to be, how we should look, and how we should live.
One of my favorite books is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The premise is that 99% of the belief systems that we carry as adults don't actually belong to us. They are things that have been taught to us by various teachers throughout our lives and we choose to make an "agreement" and accept it as our own belief.
If you grew up in a home where you were taught that you can achieve your dreams, and that you should always treat others with love and compassion, that's a wonderful thing.
However, what about those who grew up with an alcoholic parent and were taught that they cannot speak up for themselves, as to not make the drunk parent angry? Or the child who wanted to pursue an artistic endeavor but were told that "you can't make money doing that?" Or the child who was told that they were "fat" by a relative and spent their life struggling with body image issues as a result?
In a culture where "Honor thy Father and Mother" is one of the ten commandments and we are always told to respect our elders, it's no wonder that we get our wires crossed from negative messages at a young age. It's even sadder when we continue to find ourselves "settling" for relationships and careers that make us unhappy because we carry these beliefs into our adulthood.
So how do we reclaim our power, step into our light, and live authentically in 2016?
It first starts with understanding the self-limiting beliefs that hold us back. What are the messages that are preventing you from being your best self? And can you get clear about the precise moment that you learned it?
When I was 11 years old, I had a pretty rough 6th grade year. I was in my awkward stage with bad hair, braces, bad skin, etc. I was a total introvert who did not adjust to public school well, after going to private school for K-5. I was picked on by other kids unmercifully. Rather than support me and build me up, my mother, who was quite mentally ill, went had had fake trophies made for accomplishments that I didn't achieve.
She placed these fake trophies on the living room mantel and would brag to her friends how I was voted "most popular". She even made up a fake girlfriend that I didn't have and had a trophy made proclaiming us "Class couple".
I specifically remember being 11 years old and telling myself that who I was wasn't good enough to make my mother proud, so I had to create a different version of myself to deserve her love.
And for the the next 20+ years, I struggled with my own self-worth because I believed that "I am not worthy".
I don't share this story for sympathy. I share it because getting this level of clarity is paramount in facing your fear based beliefs and being able to reframe and understand it.
Spend some time writing in a journal this week. Take inventory of your false beliefs and where they came from. Then let's connect to discuss how to replace those negative beliefs with empowering, positive, messages.
Do you think that "I am not enough"? Change it to "I am enough"
It's the first step towards overcoming the identity theft in your life.
As always, please feel free to forward this email to anyone you know who might be struggling, and encourage them to sign up at www.creativesoulcoaching.net for more free weekly emails.
Sending love and light,