Solid or Liquid?

The sociologist and philosopher Zygmunt Bauman once coined the phrase ‘liquid modernity’ to describe the mobility and complexity of modern times.  We stand on shifting sands where the need to continually adapt, coupled with a pervading sense of impermanence, can make us feel vulnerable and fragile. 

Our identity is strongly influenced by our environment, so how might ‘liquid modernity’ shape our sense of self? Bauman observed that, “If the modern problem of identity was how to construct an identity and keep it solid and stable, the postmodern problem is primarily how to avoid fixation and keep the options open.” 

He saw that rather than in a fixed state of ‘being’, we are endlessly ‘becoming’. 

Making this shift in how we perceive ourselves means first becoming aware of the self-limiting stories we tell of ourselves that keep us fixed. Our identity is not a single, static entity but is made up of multiple, and occasionally contradictory, fragments or self-aspects. These are beliefs about who we are, based on our experiences, our interpersonal relationships and the daily choices and actions that we make. 

It pays to develop a more agile sense of self to adapt to our environment, to remain resilient in these turbulent, liquid times. How will you develop the inner resources needed to thrive? How could you use a growth mindset to expand your sense of self? What possibilities would come into view with a more ‘liquid’ identity?