You attend an event … holiday, neighborhood, or workshop. In one hand is a glass of water and you are making your way back to your table where a small group of people are talking. When the person next to you asks, “What do you do for a living?” How will you respond? Who are you?
Ask people what they do for a living, and you may notice something fascinating. “I am a senior portfolio director.”, “I am a web designer.”, “I am a physician relations manager.”, “I am a contractor.”, “I am a coach.” , “I am a teacher.”, “I am a lawyer.”, “I am a student.” Their response is, “I am a _______.” What this tells you is that it’s not just a job that “they do” but “who they are.” This is their statement of identity. It tells you how they define themselves.
Identity – Who are you?
Our identity is how we relate to the world based on our beliefs. In NLP, identity is high up on the Logical Levels. It works above areas of your life including: Environment, Behavior and Skills, Capabilities and Resources, Values and Beliefs. This means that your identity can affect all these areas and how you respond and think. It operates below Transpersonal and Spiritual levels.
When I was a little girl I remember relatives asking what will you be when you grow up? “I will be an artist. I will paint and draw and people will hang my artwork in their houses.” It was a while back, and yet I am still an artist. My granddaughter Emma made this picture for me. She chose one from the coloring book and colored it in. I like the concept that she used many different colors.
As a teenager, our school counselor asked what we planned to do after graduation. “I’m getting married. My boyfriend is in the military, so we have some traveling, then we’ll find somewhere to live, settle down, and I’ll be a mom.” That was the plan … much of it happened.
When the kids were growing up, I was a single mother working full time in a job that payed enough to support my little family. I didn’t really feel like I was my job, nor that it was my passion. I asked myself, “Who am I?”
As an adult, I have had many different careers. Yet, I am still me. So, who are you?
Food for Thought
When you think about who you are, what will you say? Here are some quotes to kindle your fire.
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” – Jane Eyre
“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” – Oscar Wilde
“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.” – Patrick Rothfuss
“It is easier to live through someone else than to complete yourself. The freedom to lead and plan your own life is frightening if you have never faced it before. It is frightening when a woman finally realizes that there is no answer to the question ‘who am I’ except the voice inside herself.” – Betty Friedan