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Having a strong identity or sense of self supports how we feel, the gifts we can share with the world, our sense of worth, our goals and ambitions in life, and our confidence and self-esteem. So it’s worth the time and effort to develop and strengthen our own personal identity!

Humanist psychologist and author, Abraham Maslow said…

“Musicians must make music, artists must paint, poets must write if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves. What human beings can be, they must be.  They must be true to their own nature.  This need we may call self-actualization…it refers to man’s desire for self-fulfillment, namely to the tendency for him to become actually in what he is potentially: to become everything one is capable of becoming”. 

So what Maslow is saying here?  In each of us, we has a deep need to be everything you can be.  The process of becoming who you truly are is called self-actualisation, and this journey makes us happy and fulfilled. So what are you capable of becoming!?

Understanding our identity is about understanding who you are and how you’ve been shaped or impacted by the people, culture, geography around you, and your life experiences. It’s a good question to ask yourself! What has shaped you into the person you are today?

However, there is another way to shape your identity

The Latin meaning of the word identity is “repeated being-ness”.  Meaning who you are is literally what you do repeatedly.  Therefore identity isn’t static, it can be changed.   We are actively creating our own identity through our actions every day.  Every action we take is a vote for the person we want to be!

Oftentimes how we feel (feelings and emotions) impacts what we do (our behaviours) which then influences how we feel about ourselves (our self-worth and identity).

We can reverse this and sculpt a strong sense of self (our values, strengths and place in the world) first which then in turn drives our thoughts, feelings and behaviours we practice.

Say you want to be a person who is calm and focused.  How does a calm and focused person act?  Perhaps they don’t sleep with their phone next to their bed, they take time to plan and reflect, they practice meditation.   Each time, you invest in these activities, you are showing yourself that you are a calm and focused person.

Ideally, what we want is a circular momentum, where our identity is reinforcing our actions and our actions are reinforcing our identity.

So who are you committed to being every day?

Each moment of the day, we have the choice to show up as the best version of ourselves or be swayed by our feelings at that moment!  When we act in alignment with our best self, we can reinforce it by saying to ourselves – ‘that’s like me’.   In moments when our feelings get the better of us, just remember to get back on the horse straight away.  Forget about punishing yourself and get on with it and be future-focused.    Maslow calls this stepping forward into growth or back into safety.  Each day we take these steps, forwards and backwards!

So who do you want to be? More confident? Strong and healthy? Bold and courageous? Calm and focused. Choose who you want to be carefully.  Then act as if you are that now.  Each and every action every single day reinforces who you are.

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