All About Identity

"We contain multitudes," wrote Walt Whitman, referring not to the highly contested diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder but to the fact that we see ourselves radically differently in different contexts. Everyone struggles with that existential plum, "Who am I?" For people who are overly concerned with other people's impressions, or who feel a core aspect of themselves, such as gender or sexuality, is not being expressed, this struggle is acute.

Recent Posts on Identity

We Are What We Landscape

Home and business owners in drought stricken California are painting their brown lawns green. With the wave of a sprayer wand parched blades of grass instantly turn emerald. It is like dying grey hair back to its original hue; we read youth and vitality into colored locks. What messages do we see in a lawn?

How Do Positive Leaders Build Positive Identities?

As a leader what stories are you telling about yourself and your team members? How might these stories be shaping the way you think, feel and act? Could a more positive interpretation lead to better outcomes?

Live Like You Were Dying

A sign on the refrigerator of my South African hostess reads “Find life experiences and swallow them whole. Travel. Meet many people. Go down some dead ends and explore dark alleys. Try everything. Exhaust yourself in the glorious pursuit of life…” -Lawrence K. Fish

Singles in Finland – No Shrinking Violets!

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on May 17, 2015 in Living Single
Finland is a small country with a very big place for single people. An astonishing 42 percent of all households in Finland are comprised of single people living alone (and not all single people live alone). Here's what they say they need and deserve.

The Sexuality Of Schools

By Nick Luxmoore on May 16, 2015 in Young People Up Close
The way a school expresses or represses its collective sexual identity will have an effect on the individuals attending that school.

A Contrast to Psychiatry: The ‘Hearing Voices’ Movement

Those opposed to classical psychiatric models claim that hearing voices may be a normal part of the human experience and that the diagnosis of schizophrenia may be unfounded.

5 lessons from Bruce Jenner

we need to start by using different language and asking different questions as we seek to understand and make space for diverse gender identities and expressions

Communitas: One Way of Saying Yes

We want the satisfaction that comes from honoring our commitments and the feeling of fulfillment that those connections offer us. But are the various forms of immersion equal, at least in terms of the experiences they provide? Surely, some fulfill us much more deeply - and require greater adjustment on our part.

Desire by False Pretenses

If you have spent any amount of time on the Internet, you have likely run across someone who is presenting a completely false front… claiming to be someone he or she is not.

On Crashing, Burning, and Finding Recovery

Creative people are prone to depression and burnout. Here's how to recover.

5 Thoughts That Can Get You Through (Almost) Anything

By Meg Selig on May 06, 2015 in Changepower
The best advice ever? These 5 pearls of wisdom may be a bit unusual, but they provide effective, simple guidelines for making life decisions.

Where Are You From? It's a Complicated Question

The question is ambiguous. Depending upon what the questioner wants to know, it can mean a number of different things, but where you are right now can only be understood in relation to where you came from and where you are going.

Imagining an Authentic Life

Stop trying to be true to yourself, because there's no self to be true to. You are a character in a fiction of your own making, constantly revising your narrative to adapt to your circumstances. If you don't like your life, change your story.

Transgenderism 101

In the weeks since Bruce Jenner's interview, many individuals have asked me to explain what it means to be transgendered, and what the difference is between gender identity and sexuality identity. In this piece, these differences are explained.

Beyond the Divided Self: Why Mental Conflict Is Normal

Although inner conflict has traditionally been pathologized, the diametric model shows it to be normal.

Tattoos and Identity

A website urges you to tattoo a song lyric on "your skin and soul." What's going on?

Torture and the Identity of Psychology

By Gregg Henriques on May 02, 2015 in Theory of Knowledge
The torture fiasco is partly a function of the APA being very confused about the identity of psychology and psychologists.

Finding Meaning Through Mental Time Travel

Imagine returning to the home where you grew up, opening the door, and walking right back into your childhood or youth? What would you learn about yourself and your life story? How would you live your life differently today?

Don't Just Ask Bruce Jenner for Answers, Ask Yourself

The more we understand our own relationships to gender, the more room we have to live with freedom, with authenticity, with a sense of integration, and the less we scapegoat our marginalized sisters and brothers who are targeted, discriminated against, and attacked.

9-Man Doc Showcases Chinese-American Male Identity in Sports

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on April 30, 2015 in The Pacific Heart
A talk with the creator of "9-Man," an award-winning documentary about a version of volleyball played in Chinese American communities for a century.

How Big a Fan Are You?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on April 27, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Being a devoted fan often means developing a sense of "belonging" to a larger fan community. That sense of belonging is definitely going to shape the sense of identity that many fans have and it helps explain the enthusiasm you often see at fan conventions, music concerts, and sports arenas around the world.

Rocket Science for Space Cadets

By Lara Honos-Webb Ph.D. on April 21, 2015 in The Gift of ADHD
If you take your "unrealistic" ideas and remind yourself the stakes are high for following through and focus on completion, you can make your own reality. Stop shooting yourself in the foot by pretending the stakes are not high.

Making a Change? Remember the Key Ingredient!

When I listen to people speak about changes they are making, they often speak as if they have no control. They say things like “I’ll have to wait and see what happens” or “I just hope things go back to the way they were.” These statements indicate a passivity—a sense of inaction. They forget they have core internal qualities that give them some control.

Why I Can't..... or Why Can't I?

Our beliefs and thoughts impact our lives more than any relationship.It would be wise to evaluate how we came to them and whether they truly serve us.

Being a Book Lover

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on April 20, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Being a heavy reader is far less common than it used to be. European surveys suggest that leisure reading has dropped significantly in favour of watching television, for example. Still, books can have a powerful influence on readers. A new research study shows there are far more benefits to reading than you might think.

Developmental Dislike of Parents During Early Adolescence

One function of adolescence is to grow parent and adolescent apart. Dislike of parents is part of what allows this social separation to occur. Most important for parents to remember is that this loss of liking for parents does not mean any lessening of of adolescent love.

We’ve Been Warned!

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on April 19, 2015 in Time Out
The precursors of group violence, terrorism and even genocide have been identified. Despite extreme cultural and religious differences between the terrorist of Oklahoma City and 9/11 - they emerged from ideologically similar muck that continues to produce horrific mass murderers internationally. We hate to face it, but we must.

"Burn Book": An App for Bullying

For those over 30, or without teenage children, the term “Burn Book” may have no meaning. 0thers will recognize it as the iconic Treasury of Nastiness from the movie Mean Girls. Now it has become an app—one that enables anonymous bullying in specific, selected communities:

Will You Be Openly Secular?

By David Niose on April 19, 2015 in Our Humanity, Naturally
Openly Secular Day aims to encourage nonbelievers to be open about their personal secularity.