“Identity is this incredible invisible force that controls your whole life. It’s invisible like gravity is invisible, but it controls your whole life.” - Tony Robbins
Have you ever done something or said something and then had to ask yourself "Why did I just do/say that? Where did that come from and what was I thinking?"
Or maybe you have struggled with something for a long time and you've asked yourself "Why is this something I still struggle with? Why can't I just get over it, or past it, or around it?"
I know I have - and it can be so frustrating!
To feel like you are in a situation that you have no control over, where you spoke or acted before you could think it through and at the end are just left wondering what the heck happened!
We so often don't realize that we are being controlled by our identity - by how we have chosen to see ourselves.
So what is this all-powerful identity that controls us?
Part of our identity are the facts of our life:
"I am a mother, a wife, a sister, a lawyer, an entrepreneur" etc.
But our identity also runs much deeper than that.
It runs into words like worthy and deserve and good and bad.
So one part of our identity might be "I am a mother" but a deeper level of our identity is "I am a good mother."
Things like 'mother,' 'daughter,' 'sister,' 'wife' 'entrepreneur', 'employee', are all parts of our identity that come and go.
For example: Although I am a wife and mother now, there was a time when I wasn't.
But what tends to stick around and cause us some grief is the deeper identities of 'good,' 'bad,' 'capable, 'unworthy,' etc.
And here's what happens:
If we have decided to see ourselves as not good enough, we will act not good enough.
If we have decided to see ourselves as bad, we will constantly be defending ourselves.
If we have decided to see ourselves as incapable, we will constantly view ourselves as coming up short.
This part of our identity is a self-fulfilling prophecy that unless we acknowledge and uproot it we can not get past.
We may say we feel like we are capable, and we may read all the self-help possible, and we may talk a good game - but if in the back of our minds (subconsciously) we have attached ourselves to a negative deeper identity then that deeper negative identity is in control.
So how do you know if you have attached yourself to a deeper negative identity?
Listen to your languaging. How do you speak about yourself? Even jokingly? How often do you say "Oh I am so terrible" or "I feel so guilty" or "What was I thinking?" In these small off the cuff, comments are arrows pointing to a hidden deeper identity, an identity of being "bad", being "wrong or guilty", being "unintelligent."
Are there areas of your life that you seem to have long term struggles - things that no matter how hard you try you just can't get past? These long term "problems" are often linked to your identity. Remember you will never live outside of your identity - all of your actions must be in agreement with your identity. So if there is something you seem to not be able to do there is a direct connection to your deeper identity - to how you see yourself, whether consciously or subconsciously.
So how do we change things? How do we give ourselves a new deeper identity?
Well, one of the quickest ways is to give yourself new evidence of who you are and what you contribute to the world.
New evidence can always be found in a new perspective!
Our old identities are built on a certain way of looking at the world, and that way of looking at the world dismisses anything that doesn't agree with that specific world view.
So if your deeper identity is that you are 'unworthy' no matter how well you do something, or how much you succeed you will only allow into your consciousness the evidence that confirms your 'unworthiness.'
In order to change our identity, we must let in other evidence. Evidence of our goodness, of our worthiness, of our capabilities.
We must ask ourselves these questions:
What might I be missing because I am so used to seeing myself a certain way?
What is another word to describe what I did? How I acted? What I said? (Instead of saying I was terrible, can I say I am still learning?)
If I were to look at this through the eyes of a friend how would I describe it? If I were to look at this through the eyes of the universe how would I describe it?
What else is true here? (If it is true that I was incapable could it also be true that I have the ability to learn and grow?)
By asking these questions we can find new evidence for who we are - which in turn affects our deeper identity - finally giving us what we actually need in order to make the changes we want to make, show up the way we want to show up, and simply just feel good about ourselves!