Reimagining your Identity

healthy living meditation morning practice stress-free Jan 15, 2023

If you’re trying to make changes to any of your habits, and finding it difficult, could this be why?

For many of us in North America, at least while we’re still working, we identify ourselves according to our career role: “I’m a teacher.” “I’m an engineer.”  Or perhaps we relate to the activities we undertake:  “I’m a skier and golfer.”  Or by our role in the family: “I’m a wife and mother.”  What’s interesting is that in Europe, it tends to be more the latter two, where identifying oneself by naming the job is less important.  

Or it might be that you identify yourself by the values you hold: “I’m a healthy woman who is kind and caring, and who is passionate about …” 

However, too often we might ascribe less desirable qualities to our identity, ones we’ve held for many years and have come to believe are simply part of who we are:  “I’ve never been good at math.”  Or “I can’t help myself, my willpower is weak and I always order French Fries when I’m out for dinner!”

Instead, how would your behaviours change if you believed that you were strong and healthy, and that when presented with a choice, you chose healthy behaviours?  

Try this:  When reading a menu, and given the choice of French Fries or a garden salad, ask yourself: “What would Healthy ____ (say your name here) do?”  You might be surprised to find that you know the answer, and it would not be those French Fries!

Last week I wrote about changing habits, in particular how important it is to know “What’s Your Why?” so that you’re focusing on what really matters.  

And it turns out that another piece of this is how you identify yourself.

Create your True Identity 

It’s likely that your current behaviours and habits are simply a reflection of your current identity. 

So to change your behaviour for good, you need to start believing new things about yourself!  

These can be things like: I am healthy and strong.  I make wise choices for my health.  I eat Real Food (and avoid the processed options).  

When trying to change habits, there are three approaches that people try:

  1. Focus on the Outcomes (what outcome you want)
  2. Focus on the Processes (what new habits you want)
  3. Focus on your Identity (who you want to be as a person)

We know from the lack of success with New Year’s resolutions that #1 (such as - I want to lose 10 pounds) and #2 (such as - I want to meditate every day) don’t often work, especially over the long term.  

The reality is this:  Forming new habits and having them stay with you into the future, is a result of one single decision...

The decision to create your true, authentic identity, aligned with who you really are and how you want to show up in life.  

However, few people choose their identities. Instead, they internalize the values of their parents or the dominant cultures (e.g., the pursuit of materialism, power, and appearance). And these values may not be aligned with one’s authentic self which may then create an unsatisfactory life. 

In contrast, fulfilled people are able to live a life true to their values and pursue meaningful goals. 

So how can you change your identity?

 Once again, meditation can give you a start, as you get in touch with your inner wisdom and ask questions like:

  • What matters to me right now? 
  • Who do I want to be as a person?  
  • What is my purpose and potential?
  • What is my WHY?
  • Who am I?

And then listen for Insight and Wisdom.  Allow the answer to arise from within – no need to think about it – just allow it to arise naturally without effort.  Then as you reflect back on your insights, ask:

  • Am I living in alignment with my truth? With my purpose and potential? With my Why?
  • Does this suggest a different belief about who I am, and the direction in my life?
  • If so, what changes do I need to make in my life and what actions might I take that are aligned with how I identify myself?

Answering these questions now, by inviting wisdom from the deepest, truest part of yourself, may just help you revise your own beliefs in who you truly are, and allow you to reimagine your Identity.

In fact you might want to start your day with a couple of affirmations – this will help you align your actions and allow you to begin to build identity-based habits.

And notice if this practice empowers you to make different, healthier choices!

Recommended home practice:

  • Find a time to “sit in silence” for 5 to 10 minutes.  Begin with a focus on your breath, noticing each inhale and exhale, or using other practices such as mantra with which you may be familiar.
  • After a period of time, place a hand on the center of the chest, feel the connection to your wise self, and pause. Let this touch of your hand on your body connect you to your Wisdom deep within. You may also think of this as connection to Spirit.
  • Inquire of the wisdom that dwells deep within, noticing what arises.
  • Then take a few minutes to reflect back, and ask the reflection questions above, to discern What’s My True Identity?
  • Then the next time you have a choice to make, a habit to practice or let go of, remind yourself of your “Identity” (i.e. - Ask: What would Healthy ____ do?) and see if you feel empowered to make a healthier choice.
  • And remember, a regular practice will increase the strength of what shows up!

For more info on this and other natural health topics:

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