What a powerful question! Who would I be if nobody told me who I was?
I first heard Wayne Dyer ask the question at one of his conferences. Who would you be be if nobody told you who you were? in his shorts and cute little flip-flops. Holy Sweet Baby Moses, I don’t know the answer. I don’t know who I’d be.
At that time the question blew me right out my seat. I came back fully inhabited as somebody else.
You mean I get to decide who I am? I get to say who I am in the world rather than simply letting someone tell me? What the what?
For a long time I let the people around me dictate who I was. Sure, I was dealing with depression but the constant reminder that I should smile more, that I was so sad all the time actually had the effect of keeping me in that space. Eww. So I decided that was who I was. Sad and depressed. Woe is me Jen P. And that was that about that.
I also have a severe hearing problem and before people knew that fact they would think I was an airhead, someone who was eternally checked out. You kind of start to believe it after a while. I’m just a dingbat. Enough people tell you what and who you are and what do you know? You start to decide it’s the truth! You start to accept that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
Ain’t so! You get to decide as many times as you like just who you are. I was a waitress kind of pretending to be an actress and now I am a yoga teacher and a writer. Not pretending.
And guess what else? I decided that I am not an airhead, I simply CAN’T HEAR!
Despite what the world told me about who I was and my character I chose differently.
I just love that Einstein quote above. It makes me feel sad for someone so close to me who was abused and believed that they were worthless for a very long time.
As I said in my poem “How To Make A Life” you get to decide over and over, as many times as you like, as many times as your socks, just who you are.
I lead an exercise in my workshops and retreats where I have people finish the sentence I am _____.
You cannot finish the sentence with: I am fat, I am broke, I am tired , hungry, bored etc.
It has to be something powerful. Something that you truly believe you are despite all the buts and ifs. If you’ve thought of yourself as ” just a mom” for years (and I know many who have thought themselves that even though the “just” makes me cringe), especially if you have done that, this exercise is profound.
You are the one making the rules.
You get to finish your I am-ness with whatever you like.
Why not? You are the creator of your world.
So here’s who I am. At least today: I am a healer. I am a writer. I am inspired. I am inspiring. I am powerful.
My exercise in the workshop is a bit harder. You say it aloud and then pick someone in the room and tell them your I am-ness before you look in their eyes for 3 minutes straight, without saying a word. It’s no joke! Some people weep. Some laugh. Some want to crawl out of their skin and beat the sh*t out of me.
But all know that the person looking in their eyes sees them exactly as who they said they were.
Who are you?
I dare you.
Today’s Challenge is the question: Who Would You be if Nobody Told You who you were? YOu can add your response below in comments. I encourage you to finish the sentence I am ________. Fill it in with something powerful and inspiring.
I am love and everything beautiful.
I am perfectly, imperfect.
…I breathe and take a step forward, imbued with awareness, patient for the discoveries ahead…
I don’t know why, but I cried when I read this. The mere thought of doing this exercise kicked up a lot of emotion. Perhaps because I am not a lot of the things I thought I would be by now. Instead of focusing on the things I don’t have, I need to embrace the things I do have, which is easier said than done. For me anyways… So, that being said… Here goes:
I am… A devoted wife. A successful tv producer. A champion for equality.
So beautiful. It’s true… we let people dictate who we are. Even when we are not aware, we are playing roles all the time. The roll of the wife, the healer, the mother, the daughter, the sister, the friend, the lover, the partner, the wing-man, the customer… we are always changing slightly to mold to different environments. Actually, studies show that it is to evolutionary advantage to adapt and change yourself slightly to fit different surroundings and social groups around you. It makes sense, but it sucks! There is something so simultaneously scary and freeing about just being exactly it is who you are. And I think part of growing up is ALLOWING yourself to be just that. The opposite of middle school, when everybody wants to be someone else.