Subgroup “braces” and your authentic self

I was recently listening to a friend do a talk where he started sharing about subgroups. And how as humans, we are always trying to fit into groups. Which actually makes us fit less and be even more closed off to life.

As an exaggerated example. If you are a yoga teacher or yogini, there is this subgroup perception. You should be fit as F. Never have notes during class and know every Sanskrit name for each pose. You should also meditate/chant for two hours a day, with your prayer beads. Have a couple spiritual tattoos, have spent time in an ashram in India, never cuss and be gluten free.

The instant we don’t fit this subgroup checklist in our mind. We start to doubt ourselves or in some terms have imposter syndrome. Who am I to be a yoga teacher or yogini if I have some wobbly parts. Or only know a handful of the Sanskrit names?

Even worse subconsciously, sometimes the people in these subgroups who might check off more boxes in the definition above. Will say things like, “oh, I thought you would have known that from YTT,” or “wait, you’re not gluten-free?” 

During his talk, my friend then went on to talk about his personal example of being a wounded veteran.

And how he fully took on that subgroup.

He vulnerably shared, how he became addicted to pain meds. Busted for a forged prescription. It shook him awake. For the first time, he was aware how being in this subgroup had taken him over. He healed his body and got back in top physical condition while balancing his mind, body, and spirit.

One day a friend asked him. Why are you still wearing that back brace now that you are healed? He realized that it was a “crutch.” Like if he removed that brace, he wouldn’t be in that subgroup anymore. Then what would he really be? Or where would he fit?

He explained that when he finally decided to remove the brace from his healed body. His whole body shook, as if there was a knowing of uncertainty of who am I without this subgroup. 

It was a fascinating talk for me to digest. As it made me think of how as humans we have so many subgroups. That start to alienate us more than connect us. And sometimes when in these groups. We start to get a little tunnel vision and miss out. That the world and universe is full of so many different options and ways of beings. And most importantly, as sovereign beings we have a choice to pivot at any time. Removing self-imposed labels that start to feel stifling.

Warning: when you remove yourself from subgroups, you will oftentimes get a backlash from the members of this group. Being authentic to your own truth triggers the crap out of others who aren’t (yet) being authentic to theirs. 

Yet, it is possible to appreciate various aspects of specific subgroups while standing confidently in the radiance of your uniqueness.

AND what if …

You were the catalyst that showed them they could be their authentic selves without ever needing a subgroup. Can you imagine; how valued and unique every human being would be. For simply being, well, themselves?

What subgroup “brace” have you put yourself into that no longer fully aligns to your authentic self?