The world can seem big, crazy, unjust, and chaotic at times and one of the harshest realities we face at some point is that we must live in this world. We may try to cocoon ourselves in what makes us feel good because pain and the unknown can seem too great to deal with. This isn’t always a shield from the outside world, but a shield from ourselves; shielding against the uncertainty of making our own choices; shielding against the pain of rejection and belittlement; shielding against heartbreak and sadness; shielding against falling and failing. But we must experience these things nonetheless. And it is within these experiences we decide who we are, whether we know it or not.
We tell ourselves “I am” when coming to a decision to act. It happens very quickly and quietly, but we feel that sense of “I am” when thinking about what we’re going to do. “I am capable”, “I’m not accepting this”, “I’m an expert”, “I’m not available”, “I’m fat”, “I’m going to help”, “I’m not sure what I’m talking about”, “I’m in love” are all examples of ways we influence who we believe ourselves to be and sets the tone for how we make decisions. How we choose to face what we shield ourselves from shapes the kind of person we are and if we can be aware that we get to make this choice we gain more control over who we are, but more importantly, who we want to become.
The Power of “I am”
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself who you are? You may start with your name, where you were born, where you grew up, or what you do for money, but is that it? Those things represent parts of you, but is there a deeper level that is consistent across these other descriptions? Perhaps we are a collection of parts where who we are depends on the context of life we are in. The power of saying “I am” transcends both of these thoughts because YOU decide who you are. It doesn’t matter the context or how introspective it is, the act of declaring “I am” is what creates your own belief in yourself. And it is this belief from which we form how we see ourselves in the worlds around us.
One of my favorite artists of all time is Eminem. In his song “The Way I Am” he talks about how people perceive who he is regardless of who he thinks he is, so he goes along with it. People try to tell you who you are based on their own perception and understanding of life, but who you tell yourself you are is your truth. This is why Eminem was able to accept what was being said about him and just go along with it. He knew who he was, so he could let go of his own projection of himself and let people say what they wanted about him.
We have a hard time rejecting what people say about us and what we believe we are able to do. We let it affect our mindset and how we see ourselves. Being aware of saying “I am” will give us control and clarity over our self-image regardless of what others may think or what is happening around us. This image of ourselves represents what we value, and this value is what drives our decisions to act.
The Value We Apply to Ourselves
Who we think we are isn’t complete without an associated value to our self-image. The value we apply to our self-image creates the meaning of who we are. For example, if you believe you are a loving person, is that a good thing or a bad thing? If you’re an expert, is that a good thing or a bad thing? In other words, do we see ourselves in a positive light or a negative light? It is this determination of value that creates the meaning of who we are. You may be loving but see it as a negative thing because you get taken advantage of. Alternatively, you could be loving and see it as a positive thing because you surround yourself with other loving people.
It’s these subtle differences in value that influence how we feel about ourselves. Knowing what we value and why we value them is an important step towards self-awareness. It allows us to specify what drives us and brings our authenticity to the surface of our mindset.
Influencing Who We Think We Are
Knowing who we are and what we value gives us incredible clarity and calm within ourselves and allows us to focus on what we have to offer to the world around us. This process of discovery and exploration yields the knowledge of what drives us and with this knowledge we can influence our mindset towards a version of ourselves better suited to how we want to live our lives. We can tell ourselves new stories about what we believe about our self-image through positive statements of “I am”. We can train our mindset to adopt new values that support a self-image that brings us resolve and peace.
Being able to listen to how we talk about and feel about ourselves will help us understand the energies that influence our emotions and decisions. By allowing ourselves to know our inner dialog, we can influence that dialog towards thoughts and ideas that give us life and upward growth. We can shed limiting beliefs and tell ourselves to create new beliefs and truly become who we envision ourselves to be.
We have an incredible power within us to create someone to be. This image of ourselves is what influences our decisions to act. When we can understand who it is we tell ourselves we are, we gain more control over who that person is and how that person makes decisions. When we can make better decisions that are in line with how we want to live, we’ll have the strength of knowing our own ability to create our lives and fill our lives with experiences and people that support our energy.