On your journey of self-discovery, have you ever found yourself wondering who you really were? It is a question, that can’t be answered by many.
You probably heard the saying ‘I think therefore I am’ by Descartes. Personally I do not believe I am my thoughts, however I do feel that my beliefs have a lot to do with my identity as they help me interpret thoughts and situations in my life.
It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.
Your Beliefs Create Your Identity
You too would find that the beliefs you hold guide you on how you deal with friends, family, and strangers. They will even have an impact on your working life, relationships, down to every day routines such as deciding to go to the gym or not.
You may find the link between your beliefs and identity a bit far-fetched, but think about it for a minute. If you ever said to yourself I can’t quit smoking, would you say you identify yourself as a smoker? So it is a conclusion that your beliefs about yourself will create your identity. As each of us have a different set of beliefs this process makes each of us quite unique.
Your sense of right or wrong, can or can’t, creates your boundaries and limits that you live by. So what if by some means your beliefs about yourself were changed? You would find yourself changing your identity, it will change who you are.
Just think about the research that has been done several times now of students of average or even limited backgrounds turning their lives around because their teacher believed that they were high achievers. The false belief instilled in them triggered their success.
You may say to yourself that it is impossible to change. We also tend to shy away from wanting to change our identity as we fear what the change may bring to our life. But it takes one shift in your beliefs to change your whole life!
If you decide to make this change the biggest challenge will be your own mind to overcome. Why, you may wonder? You become the labels you give yourself. Changing these labels will create a shift, and it will give your mind conflicting information. Thus, pain.
It will take conscious practice to turn the negative messages around. But the impact it can have on your life, your health, wealth and happiness is well worth the effort.
So who are you really? Apart from our thoughts we use several other avenues to identify ourselves, our emotions, our job titles, our roles, our habits, our incomes, our feedback and experiences, our past, our accomplishments, we even look at what we are not.
I dare you to get a piece of paper and write down what comes to you when you ask the question ‘Who Are you’? You know the answer! Write it down, doesn’t matter if it is good or bad. You may think you are a wimp, or that you are fat or unworthy or that you are absolutely awesome. Let all the positive and negative thoughts come out in this exercise so you can then look at all the things you choose to identify with.
Once you have done that, you can then look at which beliefs you want to keep and which ones you need to change. You can also challenge your beliefs. If you put down I am fat, yet you wear size 0 jeans, and your friend envy you for your fabulous figure, you have to ask yourself if that belief is really true? Of course it is not! So you have to tell yourself that that was someone you used to be!
Don’t let negative self-talk and belief take away from who you really are!
Look at the list again, and let’s expand. Is there something that is missing? Something you aspire to? Imagine yourself having that new identity. How would you walk, talk, dress, think and breathe? How would it feel? What action are you taking today and going forward to live consistently with this new identity?
Let’s break down the limitations you put on yourself, and make the new labels enhancements to who you are! Remember, what you identify with you will become!