Our culture emphasizes individual productivity. Value is placed on doing. But the second-to-second movements of doing and existing generate a manufactured imprint that creates the foundation of the identity.
The identity is a complex interplay of physiological, psychological, spiritual and mental variables. How all of these variables connect, interact or conflict impacts the feeling of self. When they are aligned, good information imprints into the experience of self. When they conflict or lose individual purpose, the imprint stored can further erode identity.
Imagine a machine that manufactures a product. When the factory has the appropriate working utilities like electricity and water, when the computer hardware and software are sending the appropriate information to the manufacturing machines, when there are the right raw materials and when the machines are calibrated properly, the result is a great finished product, the gem of a brand.
If, however, the electricity or water is disrupted, the motherboard of the computer has a short circuit, the software has a glitch, the raw materials aren't quality or the machines are not calibrated properly, then the manufactured product of cannot realize its potential.
Although action was taken to create a finished product, the end result is inferior and the tangible result of the misaligned process is the subpar product. If the product is distributed to consumers (or others), the brand begins to lose its good reputation and its customers, which, in turn, leads to the demise of the manufacturing company.
A human being faces the same issues. The way the individual's components interact and imprint each person's experience into her existence can be optimized or not. If optimized, this will lead to balanced information, which can have good interaction with the self and others, and perpetuate the individual's unique brand of existence. If the information and manufacturing process is imbalanced, the end product, the expression of her existence, disturbs both the individual and the other.
In other words, what you project for yourself matters both for you and for your interaction with others.
Famous manufacturers like Coke, Apple, Nike, Harley Davidson and BMW all have good branding; they have strong identities. Similarly, each individual has the potential to be in alignment with herself and then actualize and imprint that experience into her memory of herself and the memory of her interaction with others. This branding is her experience, which is simplified and summarized in the expression of her name.
To have this branding, this expression of self, it is important to drive the experience of one's own existence: Manufacture for yourself. Don't subcontract your existence out for the other. Coke factories don't give up producing Coke to bottle for Pepsi. In the same way, you must drive your own existence. Don't manufacture for the existence of another.
I have had several patients who have lost their identities. A patient may stop existing through her own experience, and she becomes the identity of her family, her partner or her job. She becomes lost and aimless in her existence. She feels disconnected from her life—frustrated, annoyed, powerless. She feels martyred and, if she has spent enough time in this subcontractor space, she may actually have created an elaborate justification for her own self-destruction. She is no longer her own brand, recognizing another brand, but an outsourced subcontractor with a bad deal.
This is it. This is your life. You can live it. You can imprint your existence and you can brand that experience into reality as the expression of yourself.
Remember what you produce as you, and what you manufacture and express as you, is unique. If you don't express it and imprint it into existence, the product is lost to humanity. Your existence is lost to humanity.
Are we not a complex economy of individuals interacting? You are free to choose.