The Price of Not Creating Your Own Identity

The vast majority of people would agree that identity and sense of purpose are hard work so you’d rather drift with prefabricated life roles and it’s as good as the real thing because everyone else is doing it, anyway.

But there is a catch. It will kill you.


The quick mechanism is as follows:

  1. When you don’t form your own identity, you tend to replace it with how well you’re doing. I don’t know who I am – so I can’t tell whether I’m good at it either. But I am a model student, model father, model girlfriend, a good friend. I am good at my roles.
  2. But you can’t make judgement about that either – you outsourced that to others when you adopted those comfy life roles. Okay, not comfy but they promised quick answers to uncomfortable questions.
  3. So you outsourced your own evaluation to others:
    • Your wife (and society) tells you how good you are as a husband
    • Your children (but really, society) tells you how good you are as a mother/father
    • Your parents get to say whether you are a good boy or good girl.
    • Basically anyone can evaluate you – apart from yourself. And you are deemed competent to evaluate others – by how well they are playing their roles in your life.
    • And it works even if it’s only in your head.
  4. And as your sense of identity is replaced by your role and your roles give the right to judge to others – your identity follows your locus of judgement…
  5. …and your immune system defends you (aka. your identity) even when it is not in you anymore. 
  6. Your immune system will start defending those other people from bad-bad you if you are not good at your roles in their lives.

Some call is guilt but you’ve probably heard that so often it doesn’t mean anything anymore.

Yes, it is all in your head. But if you place the locus of your identity outside of yourself, your immune system will follow. You would never dare to defend yourself against them (or feel seriously guilty about it) so you attack yourself if you’re not good for them.

That unexplained skin rush, the constant flu, the near-permanent infections, the sudden onset of cancer after you wronged one of the blameless people in your life? Make no mistake, you’re doing it to yourself and it is the ultimate price you pay for not having sat down and created an independent identity, independent from everyone else.

Your comfy life roles make you age and die. Among other, unpleasant things.

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