The Good News? You Aren’t Set in Stone

Written By: Erin Bach

A couple weeks ago, I went to Sarah Jenk’s Sacred Business Circle event at her beautiful moon lodge outside Boston. One of my goals for going to this event was to let go of the old ways of seeing myself in order to allow in a greater perception of who I am and who I can be.

As a former high school teacher, it’s hard to see myself as anything other than a public servant. Even though I’m about to finish my MFA and pursue publishing, it’s hard to think of myself as a “writer.” Even though I have business ideas and want to explore self-employment, it’s hard to think of myself as a “businesswoman.” So I went to Boston to clear this shit up.

Turns out, I’m not the only one struggling with this (shocking, right?). Some of the women there had successfully changed careers, leaving old identities to find new ones. Others (like me) were trying to break out of the mold they’d made for themselves in order to see what’s underneath.  

Throughout the event (and for days afterward), this idea of a dynamic identity was floating in my mind. Although at our core, I do believe we have an authentic self, that self goes through so many phases (and has so many faces).

Inside our singular “self,” we may be a friend, lover, daughter, sister, wife, partner, mother, writer, athlete, inventor, artist, explorer, teacher, student, dancer, businesswoman, mystic, leader, follower, etc. How do we keep up with it all? How do wrap our mind around our many selves?

Sitting down to write this article, I opened my email instead (because procrastination is strong with me) and saw this opening line from breathwork teacher Erin Telford’s newsletter: “One of the most dangerous assumptions we can make about our identity is that it’s set in stone.”

Holy shit, YES! I felt like that line was a little nudge from the universe (or maybe a smack upside the head). It was exactly what had been rattling around in my brain but couldn’t put into words.

Just because we have a story in our minds about who we are, who we were, that story is not carved in granite. We are free to edit, revise, rewrite the story if we want to. We can’t change the past, but we can be aware of how our past is influencing us and then choose to step into roles that feel in alignment with who we are and step out of roles that we may have outgrown.

As I’m experiencing, stepping into those new roles can be scary, but what’s the alternative? Staying put? Letting big ideas go because I refuse to see myself in a new light? No way. I deserve better than that.  

If you’re at a transition in your life or if you’re struggling to see yourself in a new role, know that change is tough. But it’s also essential. Keep going. The world needs you (the many yous) in every role you’re meant to fill.