No, not the type where someone gets your social security number. I am talking about that feeling of fear we get when sharing some of our thoughts with others. Every time that we don't speak our minds for fear of being judged, or looked down upon, or shames - that is what I call identity theft.
Obviously, it makes sense in many situations to have a filter, and we have many reasons to keep our mouths shut. But in my opinion we all have far too selective ones. In many ways, it makes sense to train oneself to respond to this uncertainty by reviewing what we are going to say, and why the other person makes us doubt ourselves. This would help overcome a lack of meaningful dialogue while also dispelling those who gain undeserved power through intellectual intimidation. These people are often either aware of what they are doing and use it for benefit, or themselves have little identity and therefore prevent others from engaging in worthwhile conversation by projecting their issues.
The same principle also applies the other way. If others seem to struggle to speak their minds around us, it might be wise to consider how we can make ourselves more approachable.
It seems as if far too often, after a few minutes of small talk, conversations are nearing the edge of a cliff. But too many times, this is because the people involved are stuck in a cage of caring too much what other people think. This likely begins in school, where you are stuck in a room with exactly the same people for eight to ten hours a day, five days a week and potentially for several years, and there is nothing that you can do about it. Of course this situation instills fear in people, if you screw up, all of those people are free to say and do essentially anything they want and there is not much that you can do to change your circumstance as a child and a part of the system. This insecurity unfortunately often carries into adulthood. which then leads to the issue of projection. People with little identity will try to diminish those around them by making them insecure about their own thoughts and the vicious circle continues, perpetuated by those who fall victim to it.