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We say that “I am…(___)”. These words write our story, define our identity in ways we do not realise. A change in them can change destinies.
Whatever comes after these two words creates our reality. ‘I am’ these two words play a very important role in defining our identity, which is, what we believe about ourselves consciously or subconsciously.
However, the question is: where do these beliefs come from? Who defines our identity?
The answer is “Our Environment”. We have been conditioned by our environment, which includes our parents, siblings, peers, friends, society, our religious beliefs, so on and so forth. We are, who we are, based on this conditioning.
This conditioning can be both empowering as well as dis-empowering. The most powerful beliefs/programs are installed in our minds in the first 6-7 years of our life. They form the foundation of our identity. Thereafter, for the rest of our adult life, we form new beliefs/values/habits based on this foundation.
What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is actually a function of these beliefs/programs. – Anthony Robbins
These programs therefore, dictate how we define ourselves, what we think about ourselves, how we identify ourselves. All our behaviours, actions and habits are dictated by our identity. We did not consciously choose our identity. It is the result of what other people have told us, significant events in our life, and other factors that occurred without our awareness or approval.
A few years back I was working with a girl who was into drugs. She was a special case, as she had completely recovered from her addiction earlier, but had relapsed.
During my counselling sessions with her, I noticed her language and I realized that she always said, “I am a drug addict.” She had formed a belief that she was a drug addict. I could understand that she had formed this Identity of a drug addict, though unconsciously.
When we start identifying ourselves as someone (a drug addict in this case), our behaviour gets dictated by that identity. So since she had started identifying herself as a drug addict, she relapsed. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
My challenge now was to shift her belief from ‘I am a drug addict’ to ‘I have developed a drug addiction’. We worked towards creating a new, empowering identity for her, by working on her ingrained subconscious limiting beliefs. Her self-recovery journey had started, and within a couple of months, she completely recovered. She went on to pursue her MBA from a reputed institute and ended up creating a life she had always dreamt of.
Someone who believes she has developed a drug addiction can clearly change as opposed to the one who believes herself to be a drug addict. She created a new identity, that of a ‘leader’, a ‘contributor’ and ended up becoming a success story.
As we develop new beliefs about who we are, our behaviours, actions and habits will change to support the new identity.
One of the most powerful and easiest ways to recognize what is our current identity code, is to be aware of how we use our ‘I am’ statements. If you catch yourself saying something like “I am depressed” or “I am angry”, then understand that ‘depressed’ and ‘angry’ are part of your current identity and you might be creating circumstances in your life which make you more depressed or angry.
So, it is very important to re-frame these ‘I am’ statements and use them in an empowering way. Instead of ‘I am angry’, re-frame it to ‘ I am feeling angry’. A feeling does not last forever, and a slight change in your language will create a massive shift in the quality of your life. We can use this technique to create new identity codes, codes that are resonant with our desires and aspirations, like ‘I am beautiful’, ‘I am successful’, ‘I am unstoppable’ etc.
When we consciously make an effort to change our ‘I am’ statements, we will end up creating a new identity, identity of a person who we want to become. We will experience a magical shift in our behaviours, habits and actions, which would help us create the life that we want.
Published here earlier.
Image source: shutterstock
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