Who Are You, Anyway?
You’re idea of who you are determines what you do and how you do it.
If you feel your dreams are just out of your reach, it’s possible that you don’t think of yourself as the kind of person who can make that dream happen. Our idea of who we are is largely shaped by how we’ve handled ourselves in the past. But the past is the past, and we can recreate ourselves anytime we want a clean slate. Rather than trying to figure out how to make it happen, start first with who can make it happen.
Who do you need to be to live the life you’re fantasizing about? When you imagine yourself living that life, what qualities do you embody? Are you confident, authentic, joyful, etc?
Catch yourself mentally or verbally starting statements such as, “I’m not the type of person who can…” Says who? That’s the past talking, not the future that’s calling to you. A more correct statement would start, “Up until now I’ve never…” This statement allows for freedom to make a different choice going forward, regardless of whatever choice you make.
We often assess ourselves harshly when we are under stress. Did we mishandle a situation? Did we snap or rush what we were doing? Did the words come out wrong? Who we are under stress is not who we really are; it’s a default reaction. It’s largely unconscious and is representative of a survival response: good ole fight or flight. Who we truly are is our best self. The self that, after making an appearance, we think back on with pride and satisfaction. The problem is when we are reacting unconsciously to what’s going on around us, who we truly are gets buried under our knee-jerk reactions. It takes awareness to take a breath and remember we are more than capable of dealing with whatever life is throwing our way. Not only deal with it, but come out on top.
How do you discover who you really are?
First, let go of any notions of what you are or are not capable of. If you start by limiting yourself, you’re going to come to the same conclusion you came to yesterday. Allow that anything is possible. Just think, who you think you are now is far different from who you thought of yourself as a teenager. Whether it has changed for the better or the worse, it can all change again but this time by your choosing. Make it better.
Think of the area of your life that is just rocking right now. You love what you’re doing, the people you are interacting with and what the future holds for you. THIS IS YOUR BEST SELF. For whatever reason, it has been allowed to come forth naturally (or you worked at it – good for you!), and you are enjoying the benefits of being who you naturally are. How can you hold onto this state as you navigate some of the more trying areas of life?
If you are interested in a quicker solution, I have an assessment tool I use with my clients that distinguishes who they really are from their stress reaction. This allows us to see the stress reaction for what it is and to identify what in their life is causing it to come out. From there I help my clients, with conscious awareness, decide how they will respond (think best self) when the same or similar situation comes around again, and it usually does.
What is it worth to remain your best self regardless of who you are talking to, what situation you find yourself in or how you responded in the past?