Psychiatry Sex Social Media Therapy Uncategorized

Identity Curation

Identity Curation
by B. Imei Hsu, BSN-RN, MAC-LMHC, Artist

Recently, I came across an article on Mashable about the ‘Facebook Facelift’: that is, facelifts prompted by concerned consumers after seeing their images as depicted on Social Media platforms. As quoted from the article, Dr. Adam Schaffner, a New York plastic surgeon stated, “When you look in the mirror you’re seeing the mirror image of yourself. But when you see yourself on social media, you’re seeing yourself the way the world sees you” [italics added]. Continuing to reflect on the intersection between technology, Social Media, and human behavior, I am not surprised at this increase. We are living in an age where curating identity has become a pasttime of teenagers, emerging adults, and business owners alike. According to the book, Identity Shift by Cerra and James, we have started using the Internet as a our mirror instead of a mature observer or authentic community to reflect to ourselves various aspects of who we are. The curation of identity on the Internet, with psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s philosophy on the mirror phase as a permanent structure rather than a phase in childhood development, creates a hyper-reality that is more real than the real. What happens when identity curation leaves consumers with a sense of disconnection from themselves? The following is a discussion about some of possible pitfalls of Social Media use in the effort to curate one’s identity to obsession.

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New Year Un-Resolutions

If you are not ready to make a change, to take responsibility for your life, or to get yourself unstuck from the patterns of behavior you repeat day in and day out, a New Year’s resolution is a practice of futility.

However, if you reframe the usual pointless resolution into a decision to change your lifestyle and the way you behave because you have already concluded that what you have been doing is not working for you, you might just be ready to make an un-resolution. An un-resolution is not about a temporary fix to stop your emotional bleeding, your out-of-control spending or attitude of consumerism, or a resistance to the aches and complaints of the people around you. An un-resolution is a decision to act upon and engage that which is, in the moment, with all of yourself.

Here are some examples of resistance and avoidance:
shutting down your partner when s/he’s upset
eating until you can’t feel hunger or fullness
watching TV to dissociate every evening before bed
compulsive masturbation without care for the body and emotions
not answering an important phone call
piling up the bills after spending without thought
lecturing others to change for your convenience
ridiculing your spouse when s/he wishes to be close or intimate with you

Any of these sound familiar? If so, and you don’t like it, a New Year resolution will not likely change you. You are the change agent. Your thinking and your attitude about yourself and your life are the key ingredients to a shift in your attitude.

In just a couple of weeks, I’ll be back to full-time in the office (and Internet sessions) again, and ready to help those who are truly interested in that shift. Call it an attitude adjustment. Call it whatever you want. But it will originate from you even if it is encouraged or sparked by myself or someone else close to you. It is an un-resolution. And it is coming, if you make the choice to take it on.

January and February 2012 are busy months at Seattle Direct Counseling. I highly recommend booking your sessions a month at a time, especially as I prepare to speak at Creativity and Madness in Santa Fe, New Mexico next month. Use my contact form, or leave a message at my email address for inquiries about booking appointments or a consultation.

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The other day, I answered a knock at my front door and walked into a spider web. Without much thought to it, I reached my hand up to my face, pulled the sticky thread away, and finished my conversation with the person at the door. There is nothing remarkable about this story, unless you understand that I don’t like spiders.