Your group identity is holding you back

One thing I’ve noticed throughout my life is that any time I’ve tried to identify as being part of a group, whether it’s a big thing like being a liberal, or some little thing like being part of the cool group at my school, I’ve immediately felt compromised.

It’s like I have to sacrifice something true about myself in order to identify with the group.

To identify as politically liberal, I’d have to sacrifice my belief that abortion is killing a baby.

To identify as a heavy metal musician, I’d have to sacrifice my belief that nearly all conspiracy theories are complete nonsense.

To identify as a Kiwi male, I’d have to sacrifice my belief that it’s OK for men to express the full range of emotions.

And on and on it goes. There is no group identity that I can fully comply with. I always have some exception in my belief system that the group would not approve of.

I can see this so much more obviously when I observe other people. It seems like the more fervently someone identifies as being part of a group, the less nuance or individuality they’re capable of.

You can test this with your friends. Any time one of them identifies with a group, ask them, “Is there any belief you have that doesn’t align with that group/ideology?”

Watch how uncomfortable that question is for them to answer. Watch how uncomfortable it is for you to answer it!

Anytime you want to identify as belonging to a group, you will feel that you have to sacrifice some nuance. There’s some part of you or some belief you have that doesn’t quite line up with the group, but you’ll feel immediately pressured to compromise that part of you, because if it were to be revealed then you would be ostracized.

If a “conservative” was OK with abortion they’d feel that they have to hide that in order to remain a conservative. A “vegan” would never be openly supportive of hunting. A “Muslim” could rarely feel safe being openly OK with gay marriage. Etc etc etc.

And this is why I’m against group identities. This is why I’ve tried to let go of my own. I don’t think of myself as anything any more.

Because you can’t simultaneously be fully authentic and identify with a group.

For more on this topic, check out my longer video “Debunking the Arguments Against Radical Honesty”:

One Response

  1. A helpful replacement identity can be to think of yourself as “The 3rd Option”, meaning that you represent the best of both sides of the argument

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