Our identity is who we really are at the core. It is defined since a very young age and it is highly conditioned by the way we are raised. More than often there is a big difference between who we would like to be and who we really are. It is essential to know what traits of our identity that we want to change in order to implement effective mechanisms to shift them to live our best lives.
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Do you know who you really are? Do you know what your purpose is in life? Do you know your identity? One of the most powerful shifts in my life occurred when I changed my identity.
My identity shift didn’t happen overnight, but some profound changes occurred in my life:
- I went from a meat-eater to vegetarian. This was a switch that I once couldn’t fathom when I was younger, but now I don’t even take meat into consideration.
- I went from employee to entrepreneur.
- I went from not finishing a book to a daily reader.
- I went from just getting by to live very comfortably.
Everything that I listed above form part of my habits, and our identities emerge from our habits. We can see who we are by what we do. When you exercise each day, you express the identity of an athlete, when you eat plant-based foods you express the identity of a vegetarian or vegan, and so on. If you struggled with the question do you know your identity, think about what is that you do every day and that is who you truly are.
The more that we repeat particular behaviors, the more we reinforce the identity associated with that behavior.
So, what exactly is my identity?
Our identity is who we are. Not who we think we are or who we want to be, but who we actually are at the core. Essentially, our identity is who we are subconsciously. These subconscious happenings are indoctrinated into us from a very early age.
Before we dive in further, let me ask you a question: Who are you? If this question puzzles you or perhaps you are thinking, “well I don’t even know what my subconscious mind beliefs are or what was indoctrinated into me.” Look at your environment and the patterns of your life. Do you make a lot of money and then spend it all? Look in the mirror. Are you the kind of person who loses a few pounds and then gains it back? Your current life situation tells you who you are.
Where is the origin of our identity?
Basically, from the moment we are born, we start to be defined by our parents or primary caretakers, and although they most likely had the best intentions for us, our parents (usually without even realizing it) tend to place inaccurate projections onto us.
Projections tend to happen in 3 ways:
- Verbally: For instance, if you were a baby who cried all the time your parent may have labeled you as “difficult,” or “high-maintenance.”
- Physically: Our ethnicity, body shape, hair color, etc.
- Emotionally: the way we were treated as children, which formed how we react emotionally. As in illustration, a parent who never felt good enough as a child and didn’t fulfill what they wanted to do with their lives may project this onto their own child by placing high standards on them and seeing the child as a future doctor, or the all-star athlete who will receive a full-scholarship to an Ivy League school.
These constant (likely, unintentional) projections on a child is absorbed by the child who begins to mistake it for their own identity. This is why we see so many patterns repeat themselves generation to generation. If you grew up in a republican home, it is likely you are republican. If you grew up middle-class, it is likely that today you are middle-class. Do you constantly have always enough money to get by? You likely grew up in a household where there was always enough money (but not overflow of money).
Benefits of changing your identity
If you are reading this article it is likely that you are curious about making some shifts in your life. Our identity is the core of who we are. It is who we are being and this consequently results in how we do things and go about our day-to-day lives. Shifting some aspects of our identity can have profound impacts on our lives if we decide to change them.
Some of the most significants benefits on changing your identity are:
- Your beliefs and inner dialogue with yourself will improve. Thoughts that you used to have like “I’m not good enough,” will stop and you will automatically think “I’m good enough.” When something goes wrong and you say to yourself, “I am an idiot,” will instead change to, “I’m smart and doing a good job. I just need more understanding of this concept.”
- You’ll stop doing habits that perhaps you have wanted to change for a long time. For example, you may quit smoking, stop playing video games, stop biting your nails, quit drinking sugary drinks, among others.
- Your new habits will become part of you. If you quit smoking, you won’t smoke. If you are a reader, you will read every day. If you are a healthy eater, you will eat primarily happy.
- You will adopt a whole new mindset. You see everything as possible and obstacles as things to learn and grow from.
There is a plethora of benefits that come from shifting your identity. What is something that you have been desiring to shift in yourself?
The benefits of shifting your identity sound great, right?! So how can we make the shifts to our identity and create everlasting change?
How to change my identity?
You can’t simply decide that you are going to do things differently. You have to be different. Changing my identity was a gradual process that changed little-by-little, day-by-day, and habit-by-habit but I can assure you it was totally worth it.
There are many components that make up our identity (experiences, memories, height, race, gender, etc), but habits hold more weight of who we are because we do them daily. This is a very significant topic. In future posts we will be diving into all its layers to successfully implement the changes we all desired in our identities.
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