Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

I in irony

One of my least favorite sports clichés, and there are many, is "there is no I in team." As I think about it, there is also no U in team. So if there is no I and there is no U, maybe the whole team thing is an illusion.

I in irony

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One of my least favorite sports clichés, and there are many, is "there is no I in team."  As I think about it, there is also no U in team.  So if there is no I and there is no U, maybe the whole team thing is an illusion.

So that got me thinking about identity.  Not only is there an I in identity, there is no U. now of course identity is only about the self, but maybe that's an illusion also.  I was thinking about that on a recent meditation retreat when I was supposed to be thinking about other things, but that's the way minds work, they never do what you want them to do, the little rascals.

But maybe all our identities really are an illusion.  Or, at the very least, not completely true.  We tell ourselves who we are : the good girl, the workaholic, the martyr, the caregiver, or even the blogger.  One woman told me when we first met socially that she is and anxious person.  Well, she might have more anxiety and she wants, and it might be so uncomfortable that it is sometimes disabling, but is she and anxious person?  No more so than I am a quadriplegic or a blogger or even a nice guy.  All of the labels we give ourselves still don't add up to who we are.  And all of those labels are connected only to the way we see experience ourselves intermittently.  And then to make matters more complicated, those minds of ours create stories about why we are the people we think we are: neglectful parents, childhood trauma, illness of a loved one, recent breakup, spiritual calling or just plain unlucky.  So we have our identity, our explanations and we are ready for life.  Maybe. 

What if what we tell ourselves is only a shadow of the truth.  Then maybe identity is a kind of illusion.

So then I was playing around with the word love. And low and behold there is neither I nor U, just love.  But that gets way too touchy-feely for a serious Inquirer blog!
Dan Gottlieb
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About this blog
Dan Gottlieb is a psychologist and marital therapist and has been in practice nearly 40 years. His career started in community mental health and substance abuse until his accident in 1979 made him a quadriplegic.

Since that time, he has been in private practice. Since 1985, he has been hosting a radio show called "Voices in the Family" on WHYY FM, Philadelphia's NPR affiliate. He was a regular columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1994 until 2008. He is also the author of four books.

www.drdangottlieb.com

Voices In The Family on WHYY

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