Identity: Who Do You Think You Are?
Everything we say, think and do is tied to our own sense of personal identity.
Certainly, God made no mistake when he fashioned us into the individuals we are. And this ‘fashioning’ refers not only to our physical bodies but also to our psychological make-up. We are unique individuals; people with specific gifts and abilities, dreams and desires.
But what we make of ourselves can be a very different story. There’s no doubt that our environment is a factor and various significant emotional events (both positive and negative) can have a large bearing upon how we actually turn out.
Yet, in truth, we have really only become what we have allowed ourselves to become. The labels we now choose for ourselves *are* truly our own choice.
You, and you alone, are in control of your perception; only you can decide the MEANING you are going to give your life.
Perhaps it’s because you were labelled as a youngster or have started believing what others have been saying about you - or is it that you feel you’re defined by your work or circumstances?
If you don’t have a clear sense of who you are, then you’re quite vulnerable to other people telling you who you are.
DISCOVER ONCE AND FOR ALL
WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE
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Discover your Identity
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Getting to You
I can’t claim that there’s a magic formula that guarantees a clear and immediate definition of your life-purpose… but there are a few specific questions that might just unearth the answer for you. But don’t attempt to rush this exercise.
Like all buried treasure, it’s worth researching, exploring and then DIGGING to find.
So, first get yourself into a quiet place, where there are no demands upon you. Begin to uncover your own thoughts by completing this statement:
If that’s too simple for you and you wanted a much more complex methodology, I’m sure there are shrinks out there who will charge you more than I would to provide you such a thing. What I’ve found though is that this tiny statement can be very revealing. So try it.
Now of course, there are actually many facets of our identity, so you’ll need to complete the statement multiple times. Write *whatever* comes to mind – however bland or obvious, silly or sagacious it might sound.
Once you’ve done that, let’s explore further from a different angle. Same method, slightly different question:
“I am here to…”
“I am here to…”
“I am here to…”
A Trustworthy Mirror
Sometimes we’ll uncover deeper layers of truth by asking trusted friends or colleagues, ‘What good thing do bring to the situation?’ You’ll need them to be willing to dig into their thoughts a little and you’ll need to be ready to ask a few variations of this essential question.
You could ask them to feedback based on this question:
“Whatever’s going on, [your name] can be trusted to…”
Only ask this of people whom you know will take the exercise seriously and give it the time it deserves.
Can our identity change over time?
There’s WHO WE ARE… and then there’s WHO WE BELIEVE WE ARE. And we will always act out of a place of who we believe we are – even if those beliefs are completely false. Sadly, if you do believe a lie, it will in some way become real for you. You’ll expect certain results (or lack of them) and guess what? that’s very likely what you’ll get.
From Hobbit to Hero, Farm-boy to Jedi Knight (Luke Skywalker) – if you Change (rename) the Character you Change the Story. Put into the right situation a Hobbit can become a Hero and everyone will see a complete change of character - a change of destiny.
So, what beliefs about YOURSELF do you need change? And how can you set new expectations of others by changing your beliefs about them?
Tear Up the Labels!
When I was a budding spy (aged 8), I learned that it was important to remove all LABELS from any clothing I was wearing, or it could leave a trail of evidence that other spies could use to find out more about me (Wales was full of spies in those days).
But far too often we seem to be oblivious to the labels we attach to ourselves.
Often, out of pure habit, we find ourselves saying things like “Oh I’m so stupid,” when a mistake has been made. Do you see the labelling that is going on there? "I AM..." It's a statement of identity. Words spoken, even if said in slight jest, have an impact on our self perception.
"I’m overweight." is another statement that is notably disempowering. When your unconscious mind hears you say that, it responds by saying, ‘Ok, so I AM overweight (I just heard me say it) – so I’d better do the things that overweight people do."
Your unconscious mind will not do anything that is incongruent with your deeply seated sense of identity.
So, notice your words and take steps to find an empowering alternative.
TIME FOR ACTION
Whatever others have said about you. Whatever your past has indicated is true about you, these actions will propel you towards a much more empowered future - unencumbered by negative beliefs:
Finally... Chillax, Dude!
All this identity stuff can sound deep and challenging. Yes, work it through, but allow yourself to enjoy yourself for who you are NOW. Appreciate yourself as someone who is what they is (awful grammar, but you get the point :-) Then, enjoy tyhe process of learning and growing every day... into something even more beautiful.
Pad is a trusted adviser to business leaders across the globe. He is Director at Come Alive Success Coaching ltd. and the Author of TEAM ME - How to Play Your Best Game in Life, and TEAM GUY - Forging Men of Soul & Steel.