If someone asked you right now, "who are you?" - how would you answer?
Would you mention your job, your profession, perhaps that you are a parent or a partner? Would you think about your value vis-a-vis finances or property? Would you think about your outward image and how social media plays a part in your life?
Would you immediately think about your "failures" or focus on the areas you want to improve? Would you describe your physical appearance?
Essentially, would your immediate response be to define who you are by all sorts of outside measures and standards created outside of yourself?
So many of us would absolutely say "yes" to that. I used to.
From a very young age, people all around us tell us who we are - tell us what our value is, how smart we are, how talented we are, how attractive or healthy we are, how funny we are. We are informed of these things - it isn't for us to decide.
I have a few huge problems with that.
First, defining yourself by other people's standards gives away your agency. People can change their minds. If you are dependent upon others' opinions or assertions, you are also at the mercy of their choices. Choices you cannot control. I think giving away that power, outsourcing it to others, creates a dynamic of fear that is unhealthy and unproductive. It creates a sense of lack at the core of your being that keeps you engaged in behaviors that do not serve you. It can be desperate. It's really no way to be.
Second, creating a habit within your life where you look outside of yourself for answers and validation sets up a way of engaging in your life that ensures that you will never truly know yourself. When you set up an inner dynamic where you have no access to your thoughts, feelings and deep inner beliefs and knowing, you cut yourself off from yourself. This way of being is so tragic to me.
But the good, no, GREAT, news, is that at literally any point in time you can decide to make any choice you want. Therefore, you can take back your agency and how you define yourself.
Once you decide to be responsible for who you say you are, you also reclaim the responsibility of doing so. THIS can be scary for some people - it could be why they avoid it in the first place.
But if you've decided that this is something you'd like to explore, there are a few simple ways to start thinking about it. I won't go through it all now (but I do have a course called Foundation that speaks to it), but to start, you must figure out how to be still and listen to yourself.
Here's what I know. The answers are inside each one of us. We just have to know how to hear ourselves. Once we can tap into that, we are on our way. From there, you can get to know yourself and live from that place. YOU can eventually define who you are.
When you get there, it's truly a beautiful thing, and a lifelong relationship that absolutely no-one can touch. Our relationship with ourselves is the most important one we will ever have - so let's give it a chance.