Identity

Today we are going to discuss something that may not seem flexible at first.

Who we are.

Better yet, let’s change the words here. Our perception of ourselves.

Our perception of ourselves and the way that we interpret our personal reality is the key catalyst to your potential successes and failures. Our personal perception of our capabilities, our strengths, whether or not we are popular or good people is the way we filter the stimulus around us.

Imagine this, I am a young woman who is 15 years old, I go to Highschool at a prominent suburban school and I am going through puberty. My entire life I saw myself as a rebel, a tom-boy, and a very extroverted person. But as my body is physically changing I am becoming more reserved, I am wearing different and more feminine clothing and trying to follow the rules closer. What has happened here?

As this young woman’s body has changed, her perception of herself and how she fits into this new world (freshman in HS) has changed her view of herself. What once made her strong and outgoing is no longer a highly valued social currency. She interprets her attractiveness to others now as wrong and begins to change. Shutting down some of her key characteristics to fit in. Her new perception of herself is that she needs to be quieter, more physically attractive and better behaved so that people will like her more.

This is definitely a survival tactic and potentially even growing up, but as our perception, our identity is developed both culturally and individually this can benefit us or harm us. In this example of the young girl, her once exuberant, rebellious lively personality has been identified as unattractive. Her gift has been put away. As she grows older she may bring out those positive characteristics depending on what her career, college experience or other experiences influence her.

It is important to remember that we are all evaluating and judging our own behavior in different contexts and that not only does that determine how we believe others will perceive us, it determines how we perceive others.

It is also important to note that when we are young and going through adolescences we are essentially domesticated through punishment and reward for our behavior, and we continue to function this way as adults. There are benefits involved in hiding parts of ourselves, such as safety, acceptance, more attention, or less. Our brains are motivated through this and that is why changing is so difficult to achieve.

Our identity is flexible if we desire to unleash a new person for instance, or make-over ourselves, it is possible. Identity isn’t necessarily fixed because it is an interpretation of ourselves. So if our current set of morals, beliefs, goals don’t fit with the life we want to achieve, one important step to take is to become the person we wish to be.

Who do I need to be to achieve this?

This question is everything because change will take a different set of behaviors and choices. It will take a potential change in schedule or how you see yourself. Long-term lasting change in career, health, relationships, or anything else requires learning and action. Those actions will not be the ones you are doing or else you would already be seeing these results.

So, mentally munch on this a while, who do you want to be? Who do you see as your highest potential self? What is it that you want to accomplish and what will it take to get there? Who are people who have accomplished what you want to accomplish and how can you emulate them? What are the unique personal gifts that you can enhance to get you to the next level?

I can’t WAIT to hear your feedback.

Go get em’

 

Alissa

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