2. Where did this definition come from? and
3. How accurately does it represent who you truly are?
Without realizing it at a very early age we began constructing an identity. This identity was formed as we got information from the outside world around us, initially our parents and later on from friends, neighbours, our community, teachers, religious authorities, and the media, etc.
This constructed identity is the sum of everything others have told us about ourselves and everything we have told ourselves about ourselves. This collection of opinions, judgments, and conclusions shapes our experience, influences our behaviour, and largely governs the way we engage in the world.
What we need to remember is that these perceptions may feel very real but they may be incomplete or inaccurate. Until we are willing to examine all these stories we have about our self we are essentially bound by them and will tend to act in alignment with them. But to recognize that these perceptions may not be entirely accurate all we have to do is think about a perception we used to have about our self that proved to be inaccurate.
I used to think that I was stupid because I dropped out of school half way through grade 10. I wasn’t a very good student and I hated most of the school work I was asked to do so I generally didn’t do it and my marks reflected my lack of effort. I thought I was too dumb to do well in school. It was only 5 years later when I decided to attend college as a mature student and made the honors roll that I discovered I wasn’t dumb I was simply unmotivated to learn what my teachers in high school were trying to teach me. When I started learning subjects that interested me I experienced excitement and curiosity and became passionate about learning. My story changed from being dumb to being unmotivated and my challenge became one of identifying subjects that interested me. I have been a passionate learner ever since.
Our identity is the result of what we believe about ourselves but this identity is not necessarily accurate or complete. I invite you to become curious about the stories you have been accepting about yourself and see if you too may have internalized opinions or judgments about yourself that may not accurately reflect the interests, gifts, and abilities you may only remotely sense lie within you waiting for your permission to emerge and blossom.