One of the most important questions we can ask is, "Who am I?" We are constantly shaping and forming the answer to that question. From the clothes we wear, the newsletters we read (thanks for reading, btw), to the stances we take, each tell others about our identity.
Our identity consists of the various characteristics we use to categorize and define ourselves and the various characteristics that are constructed by those around us. It's important we understand what goes into our identity. Knowing the aspects that shape who we are can help us make informed decisions, and maybe more importantly, defend them if needed. Maybe even more vital to our success as people, though, is knowing our self-image.
If our identity is what we are (fact), than our self-image is how we feel about those facts (opinions). For large parts of our identity, what is is what will be. Meaning, we cannot change the hand we were dealt. Therefor, the question healthy people should ask is not "How can I change who I am?" Rather, they should ask, "How can I change the way I view who I am?"
I've been short my entire life. I remember the distinctive moment I accepted and even embraced being short. We were doing tackling drills on my 6th grade football team. It was my turn. I look up and see my friend DJ. He's got forty pounds and four inches on me. The whistle blows and we both run at each other. I lower my hips, look up like I'd been coached, and drive my legs. Seconds later, I find myself on top of DJ, victorious. I realized because I started out lower, I was able to get lower during tackling drills. An advantage to being short? It began to shift my self-image of my height. The first of thousands of shifts I've made and continue to make regarding my self-image.
Often we can't change our identity, but we can change our self-image. So maybe the question is not, "Who am I?" Instead, let us ask, "How do I feel about who I am?"
Make a list of 10 aspects of your identity. Rate each one on a scale from 1-10. 1 being "Least like who I want to be." 10 being "Most like who I want to be."
What has shaped your self-image the most in the past two years? Why?
“We know what we are, but not what we may be.” - William Shakespeare