I took me a while to figure out that your identity determines your life. When my son was 5 years old, he went to karate classes. I’d be there watching, with my infant daughter who was usually asleep in the car seat. My husband was at home, as it was a Saturday, but he wasn’t in a place where he could take care of our baby daughter. So she always tagged along. I was always juggling. Much of those days were a blur, as my husband’s drinking was escalating, along with the chaos in my head.
But on this particular Saturday, I found myself listening in to the class, watching as an energetic bunch of 5 year old bounced around the mats, punching and kicking.
“How would a black belt stand?”, the instructor bellowed.
Immediately, all of the children struck a pose, standing tall, holding their arms and positioning their legs as they had been taught. Perfectly formed, standing silent, looking focussed. They suddenly all became black belts.
“See, you know how to be a black belt. Think like a black belt. Move like a black belt. Know you are a black belt, and you shall be one.” expressed the teacher.
At that moment, I saw a way to immediately calm 15 rambunctious 5 year olds. Today, I can look back and see how that was an important lesson about identity.
As I move forward along the Pathway to Peace healing journey, I am always conscious of the seven ways that my identity is shaping my life.
Your identity is defined by who you think you are.
You are who you think you are. For years, I felt I was shy, too afraid to speak up, afraid to say the wrong things, too afraid to make a mistake, an exhausted mother, all alone full of worry and constantly beating myself up. That’s exactly what I was.
Your identity controls what you see.
We can see things through rose coloured glasses, as well as through grey, dull lenses. If your life is defined by your negative thinking and outlook, you will only see the grey. I only saw the challenges, the things that scared me, the things that exhausted me, the things that kept me alone, worried and afraid.
Your identity determines the decisions you make.
The labels we put on ourselves, the limiting beliefs that we have about ourselves, they all shape the decisions that we make – as well as the ones we don’t make. For me, there were many decisions that I didn’t make. I was stuck. I just didn’t know it. The new me is constantly challenging myself to think, feel and behave differently, working on changing the repetitive patterns in my life. I’ve also learned how to ask for help.
Your identity defines how people will behave towards you.
People will treat you as you expect to be treated. What you think of yourself, how you identify as yourself, is how others will treat you. The old me was frazzled and always late. I became known as the person who was always late and couldn’t be relied on.
Your identity shapes your choices.
One of the strongest forces in the human personality is the need to stay consistent with how we define ourselves. That consistency extends to to choices that we make. We will consistently make choices that are in line with how we see ourselves – or don’t see ourselves.
The old me consistently flopped on the sofa at night, slumped, exhausted. The new me, is out trying new things, even when I feel tired, or scared, I try new things. It’s this exploring that has re-discovered things that I love, and strengths that I never knew I had.
Your identity determines your story.
You can decide to change your story at any time. If you want to change your life, change your story. You can train yourself to be the person that you want to be.
I can look back and see how far I have come. A friend described the work towards changing your life, healing, building to healthy ways of thinking, feeling and behaving, like pulling back on the slingshot. You feel the resistance, always testing you. But then you reach a point and life slings you forward, with ease and velocity. All that effort pays off, slinging you forward into a new life, the one you dream of.
Keep doing the work my friends. It’s worth it. In the Blossome Community, together we are rewiring the way we think, the way we identify ourselves, and rewriting our story. Join the Blossome Community.