What is your Identity?
If I asked you, how would you describe yourself, your answer would be shaped by the way you identify with yourself. I might tell you that I am a messy person. I identify myself as someone who does not prioritise tidyness. That is fine as long as I am happy with that description. Much to my husband’s despair, I am!
However, if I was to describe myself (and I used to) as not very bright, that would be different. Born from an incorrect belief that because I didn’t take A levels or go to university I was missing the brain power to achieve anything above my imagined grade. Therefore I couldn’t be as bright as those who did. Can you see how a seemingly harmless belief about yourself could shape your life? Hold you back? It took time and plenty of support but I forced myself to do things i never thought I could. Small things at first and then as confidence grows, bigger things like starting a business!
Examples of negative identites:
I have no willpower.
I am weak.
I am a negative person.
I am always late.
I am a worrier/anxious person.
I can’t lose weight, I have tried everything.
I have no coordination/balance.
I am too old for…
If you identify with any of the above or similar, read on.
Our language will confirm these beliefs. The more often we describe ourselves in a negative way, the more convinced we are that it is true. Someone once asked me “who is telling you that you are not bright?” The ridiculous truth was, it was me! Each time I found something difficult or out of my comfort zone, I would fall back on my lack of intellect. It was an excuse and it was holding me back.
So what can we do about this sorry start of affairs? It is no good being told you are not a,b,or c if you believe you are. Only one person can change how you think about yourself. How you identify with yourself.
If you want to change your outlook, you need to first change your inlook (yes that is a word, I googled it!) I have had to do this or Tessfit would never have been started!
First identitfy the negative things that hold you back. Then take some time to think about why you describe yourself that way. Is it because of what others have told you or led you to believe or is it the way you do or don’t do something, ALL THE TIME!
Practising a negative habit will make it seem permanent but as soon as we change that habit or start a new positive one, things can and will change. Stop telling yourself and anyone who will listen that you are something you don’t want to be. Decide to change it and do it one bit at a time. It will have taken years to take root so don’t expect the weeding to be quick!
An example of how habits can change a belief:
I am always quite scared of the annual challenge that I take on for charity. I start by telling everyone I am scared because it helps to initally share that emotion. I then need to do something about it or I would start to believe that I really am scared. So I form a habit of, in this case, training. It must be specific and structured. As I get fitter for the demands I will be placing on my body, I stop being scared and become excited. Maybe a little nervous, but that is good energy! Similarly, if I didn’t want to think of myself as untidy I would start a new habit of making my bed…not happening!
We think we are ‘wired’ a certain way and that’s it. But if your wiring at home goes wrong you would call an electrician. In other words you would get help. Sometimes we need help with our emotional wiring too. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support, be inquisitive, find out. If you don’t take action then you are accepting that this is as good as it gets, and that is so far from the truth.
Taking control and being accountable to yourself is a must if you are going to grab life with both hands. Identifying yourself as someone who you don’t want to be is like living with your hands tied behind your back.
I hope you found that helpful. This is one of many topics already being discussed in TessTalks. The help is there if you need it 🙂