Recently, while watching the TNT police drama Major Crimes, a line spoken by Captain Sharon Raydor caught my attention.
She said, “If you hang out with criminals, you will eventually become a witness, a suspect, or a victim.”
Sounds like some kind of Identity Creep, doesn’t it? You know, the same phenomenon that makes people look suspiciously like their pets or causes some spouses to resemble each other over time. I wonder, did they choose for that reason? Or was the transformation more chameleon-like in nature? Hmmm…
Regardless, it's reasonable to assume that our choice of friends will expose us to the risks or benefits associated with their interests. Over time, we’re also likely to get stung by the same consequences.
I wondered how this theory might apply to other groups. For instance:
- If I hang out with ninjas, will I dress in black and become a human weapon, or possibly a turtle?
- If I associate with athletes, will I become physically fit, injured, or a wealthy celebrity?
- If I converse with writers, will I develop an extensive vocabulary or attempt to rewrite relationships that don’t end well the first time?
Based on this logic, it's clear that the identity of the group you join is likely to creep into yours. Choose well. It’s probably better to have limited friends or none at all than the wrong friends.
Don’t become a victim. Answer the following questions, and you’ll be well on your way to establishing your own identity and avoiding Identity Creep.
- Who are you? Define your values because they drive your choices. Then find people who live the same values and smile at them. You want them to become your friends.
- What are the results you want to achieve? Imagine yourself there.
- When will you begin? Take the first step. “There ain’t no end without a beginning!” ~A Mysteries That Matter original quote!
- Where will the “Big Reveal” of the best you occur: your home (a tough audience but stay strong), work, school, sports, social activities, entertainment, etc...
- Why care? Because “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” ~Abileen Clark, The Help, Dreamworks Pictures. No one can fill your unique place in the world so don’t allow Identity Creep to divert you from the mission you were specifically designed to accomplish.
I know it’s hard to be your own person in a society that encourages conformity. Identity Creep has consumed many years of my life, but I learned to make better choices and so can you. Begin today!
Have you experienced pressure to conform or stifled your own identity so you’d be accepted by your friends? If so, what happened? Do you have any advice for someone else who wants to break away and become more than just another face in the crowd?