It happens to the best of us.
We get busy, life happens.
Dreams are forgotten, careers discarded. Real life sets in.
Somewhere along the way, we feel like we have lost ourselves.
This feeling’s strongest form, Amnesia, is often used as a plot device and many movies and videogames as well. There is something frightening, but also relatable about losing our own identity.
While many of us are familiar with this plot device, thankfully few of us have experienced this type of trauma to its full extent. However, there are times that all of us – myself included – have felt a disconnect with our real self.
Running Through the Streets of Silent Hill
Sometimes it’s just a feeling of forgetting who we are, and what we are all about. Other times, it might just be a vague sense of confusion or even fogginess, like we are running through the streets of Silent Hill.
When we get in a funk like this, it can be difficult to focus, concentrate, or even feel present and in the moment.
It’s not quite full blown depression either, but it’s a sense of feeling disconnected and losing touch.
But there is hope…
In Final Fantasy VII, protagonist Cloud Strife experiences an extreme case of identity crisis, complicated by mixed memories, poor self-image, a series of laboratory experiments, followed up by a bath in the concentrated life-force of the planet.
That’s pretty rough.
Cloud’s ambitions of achieving a high rank in the military were not enough to overcome his limitations, leaving him in the role of doing a lot of grunt work. Maybe that is an allegamy for you, or maybe it is reality.
Ever find yourself working in a J.O.B. that you hate? I’ve been there, too.
On a military mission near his hometown, Cloud is befriended by a true Soldier First-Class, Zack, who shares many stories and experiences with him. We all need mentors, in this case, Zack was Cloud’s Player 2 (find out more about what makes a good Player 2 here). Zack is killed, but Cloud vows to keep his legacy alive, and essentially creates a new identity for himself combining the stories and identity of Zack with his own.
Jump forward a few years to the events of Final Fantasy VII, Cloud falls into the Lifestream (literally, the life force of the planet – think lava but less burn-up-y) and enters a comatose state.
Various plot devices permit another character to enter Cloud’s subconscious and work through a series of interactions to help Cloud find his true identity and shut out these false ideas and memories from his mind.
The antagonist of the game (depending on your perspective) Sephiroth also contributes to Clouds loss of identity, through suggestions that his memories and identity are not reliable. He goes as far to suggest that Cloud is a fake and not capable of great things.
In the same way many of us have heard voices and thoughts that are not true but can influence us into believing lies about ourselves, who we are, and what we’re capable of doing.
I have let these kinds of voices keep me from doing great things. Maybe you have too.
How To Find Yourself Again
So what do you do if you don’t have a fellow party member who can enter your mind through a stream of the planet’s life-energy?
How can you reconnect with your identity and who you are (or remember yourself being)?
Here is one way:
Grab some paper and a pen or pencil and find somewhere quiet where you can be alone with your thoughts. Start by asking yourself the question:
When is the last time that I felt completely myself?
You may have to go back a long time, or it maybe only a few days ago. Quickly write down a short description of that moment.
Next, with that situation clearly in your mind, consider the following questions, and write down your answers:
What were you doing at that moment? What about the moment made it special? What were the results of the situation? What else was happening in your life at that moment?
What time of the day was this? Was there a particular day of the week that contributed to the outcome? Was there a certain time of year that you felt this way?
Where were you physically located? Work, school, home, at the Gold Saucer Amusement park? What was the environment like?
Who were you with? Were you alone or with another individual, or perhaps a group of individuals? Were you with friends, family, or strangers?
How did this situation contribute to you feeling like yourself? What about the “What, When, Where, Who, and How” made the largest difference?
Take some time to reflect on the ingredients that worked together to produce that feeling of being your very best (chances are you were operating in your strengths).
Review the list you just created – what one or two answers on this list makes the biggest difference? When I did this myself, I noticed that I loved spending time alone while being creative or doing artwork of some kind.
Once I identified this location & activity, I set aside time during the week to spend along & being creative.
What a difference this made! I never would have thought something so simple could make such a difference in how I feel, but the results were almost immediate. In fact, I feel better just talking about the situation.
Are You Ready for the Next Level?
Complete the list of questions above, then take some time this upcoming week to intentionally spend more time doing those exact same things – and get ready to be reconnected someone amazing: yourself.