Are you, YOU....or WE?

“Wear your heart on your sleeve,” is a trope we’ve become all too familiar with. The second decade of the 21st century formulated this trope with it’s blatant miscarriage of identity. Collectivist identity and solo identity being emphasized, with collective being emphasized in a manner which forces those who prescribe to it to become a collective, all while believing the false notion they are in-fact a single identity with their own thoughts.

The harsh reality is wearing ones heart on ones own sleeve never works when it comes to genuinely being part of a community. By being blatantly obvious in a manner in which one signals others of ones own morals is not an example of ones own proponents to do something morally correct, it is a proponent to be NOTICED for doing something perceived by the collective to be morally correct.

The collective then dictates what is right and what is wrong, while remaining in a flux. With the collective identity being in flux it remains difficult to remain part of the collective without compromising oneself.

If ones identity is dictated by the collective morally who is to say they will not be corrupted to the point where their identity is no longer their own? See, one could believe they are their own person, but are we ever truly our own people or are we always destined to be part of a collective identity with sprinkles of ourselves hinting outwards?

I’ve discovered one’s own identity can be dictated by outside forces, but if we recognize such things we can pick and choose things which suit us and shun those which don’t.

For example: I lived with slobs throughout college, but I was a neat freak. Being a slob works for those people, but doesn’t work for me. Being a slob is something which doesn’t bother them, but bothers me. Therefore I should not live with them nor other slobs. Knowing this about myself, I could make decisions for housing which would not detriment the personal relationships I’ve established with others since I won’t be forced to LIVE in neat freak mindset tenfold through provocation of the slob lifestyles others thrive from. Add to that the fact I will also be able to focus my energy and attention on important things rather than playing role of mom and pop for the slobs.

Tattoos are another great example. I have seven tattoos. When I was younger I got them as a means of representing big changes in my life, as reminders of those changes so I could constantly move forward with grace. What I realized is these are also sort of parts of my identity, which I could really do without. Some are related to intellectual properties which I loved and still love, but I do not see the point in expressing such things to other people publicly. 

Doing so opens one up to judgments based on others experiences and familiarity with the properties.

It’s kind of like putting a bumper sticker on a car: why tell everyone else what you like and what your identity is? Would you put your phone number, email, and home address on your car for others to see? How would that change the way you behaved around others?

Never compromise what you know works for you for the sake of the collective and “morally righteous,” because what the collective notes are morally righteous now may become morally reprehensible next week. 

The key is to have faith in oneself, hush up the whispers of those telling you what is right and wrong politically and morally, and thrive with what you know works to inspire, engage, and keep you going. 

Even when it comes to love, be careful. You never want to compromise who you are for the sake of a relationship/marriage. We ought to learn how to negotiate with a partner, but we should never have to compromise our morals for the sake of someone we think we may have a future with….and if that person falls into the collective and you don’t see yourself as part of the collective: RUN. There is no point in being with someone who may attempt to rope you into their collective community. Some communities are reasonable and don’t force you to compromise yourself, but there are communities out there which will attempt to take your identity from you. Know your limits. 

For example: you don’t have to be extremely religious to be a person of God. You can practice any religion by simply reading the literature, understanding there is a God and then going out there and living your best life with the morals imbued upon you by the religion. The tricky part is when you get into extreme territory: the people justifying violent means in order to propagate their ideologies are the collective communities I’m saying we all need to run far away from.

If religion works for you, then embrace it. It’s the extremes which make anything bad.

If you live in a co-op where everyone contributes and you get along with the people in the community then that’s great!

The moral here is find what works for you.

The philosophical conundrum being: where do we set limits and how often are we able to callout others in our communities when they make us uncomfortable and how easy is it for us to identify communities which would not force us to be anyone but ourselves?

Tricky, right? Partially due to us never being able to get along with EVERYONE in every community anyway, and because of the innate FOMO nature of human beings.

With friend groups I’ve discovered we find friends which mesh with us and from everywhere, and not all of our friends will get along or agree with one another (though some of my friends are similar to one another in the respect of their morals and some of their politics).

I think it’s time the media figures and educators to take a large step back out of their moral high grounds and stop using their platforms to signal these morals to their communities. The echo chambers are exactly that: echo chambers. They will perpetuate themselves as long as there are people who want to fit into what’s been spun as the mainstream opinion.

The real question is: how do we get those who are so lost they cling to these fake community identities out of these mindsets? And how do we discern whether someone is being authentic or are simply signaling their virtues to get ahead in a business somehow?