CHOOSING YOUR IDENTITY
Creating a new experience of life
It can often seem like we are not choosing who we are, but rather that we simply are who we are. You might wonder what it even means to choose your identity. To begin with your identity is made up. It is composed of a slew of thoughts, feelings, beliefs and assumptions, many of which you might not even be aware of, which is why it seems that you are not choosing who you are. However if you take just a little bit of time and come up with a handful of words or phrases that currently describe you, then you will start to get a clearer picture of how you see yourself. This is important to do if you would like to see that your identity is in fact made up by you (consciously or not) and become more deliberate in the choosing of it for yourself.
Why is your identity so important anyways? Your identity dictates what actions you will take or not take, what emotions you will have or not have, how much risk or safety you need, how you relate to other people and yourself, the information your body will receive or not receive, what you belief is possible or impossible, and how you view the world and all of its happenings. I hope you can see that identity is a pretty big deal. It influences your entire experience of life. Good news is you are not stuck with the one you have! Identity in indeed malleable, but you must first realize that it can be changed by you if you so desire.
Just to be clear there is nothing wrong with any identity. Choosing one identity over another identity is not better or worse, but rather only provides different experiences for you. Ultimately you are not any of the identities that you conjure up. You are that which is before all characteristics and qualities, but that is another conversation. So make that list of qualities and characteristics that you currently feel like you possess. What are the primary thoughts and emotions that you experience on a regular basis? What beliefs do you have that inspire those thoughts and emotions? How do you imagine other people see/view you? What do you present to others or the world and how is that different than when you are by yourself? Get as clear and concise of a picture of who you currently believe or know yourself to be. Now ponder if there is any way in which you would like to experience something that you are currently experiencing differently. Would you like to feel different, see yourself differently, relate to others differently, have different opportunities, feel different in your body, make more money, impact others more, etc.? If the answer is yes then it all begins with a shift in identity. We can’t experience anything differently until we first become different.
A NEW YOU
Bridging the non-real gap
Now that you have gotten clearer on who you currently are, you must also create what you would like your new identity to be. If you came up with some ways in which you would like to experience life differently than you must ask yourself, “who would I need to be in order to have those experiences?” What type of person would experience life in the ways that you want to experience it? Write down whatever those characteristics, qualities, thoughts, and emotions are for someone who would experience what you desire to experience. Then notice the gap between your current sense of self and the sense of self you need to have in order to experience life in these new ways. That gap, which really isn’t a gap, but rather only a set of habits based on assumptions of who you are and who you aren’t, and a doing of yourself one way versus another way.
To bridge the non-real gap we must do, feel and think ourselves like the version of ourselves that we now desire to experience. We must break the habits of our previous self by laying down the habits of our next self. This is where people often drop the ball because this takes work and effort. It will take energy, determination and discipline in order to make the shift because your old way of doing yourself is effortless, routine and predicable. It takes very little energy. Building a new self is like a baby building its body. It takes a ton of energy. In a way you do become like a baby again. You are learning and laying down patterns that you have not learned or laid down before. There will be uncertainty or lack of clarity, a sense like you don’t know where you are going or how to get there. That is all normal. You don’t know yet because you haven’t traversed this terrain before. If you already knew then it wouldn’t be a new version of you.
As always your desire is the guiding light. The more clear you are in your desire of what you want to be now, the more clear the path will seem to you even if you don’t know what direction is up/down or right/left. Turning the light up on your desire is also your source of energy. Without desire we don’t feel much motivation to create or bring new things to light. With desire we are lit up. We are motivated, inspired, and take action in the direction of our new found dreams. Along with creating new behaviors, habits, thoughts, feelings and emotions, there will be a letting go of the old ways of being. It is like a sweet good-bye. A good-bye that is done in gratitude for who you’ve been and everything you’ve created from this sense of you. It’s kind of like selling a car you really love, but you know it’s time for an upgrade because the old one just can’t do all the things you need it to anymore. You want to have new experiences so it’s time to upgrade, it’s time for a change.
We are by our very nature creators. We are the source of our creations. How do you want to play with the toys in your sandbox today? How do you want to experience life? You are the source of it all. Turn the light up on yourself, see who you are now and create who you need to be in order to experience life how you desire to now.
Dr. Amanda Love