Episode 72: Who Do You Think You Are? The Identity episode

This podcast episode idea came from a client who said she had a voice in her head, a not very kind voice, that challenged her with this statement “Who do you think you are?”. I asked her to reflect on this question and tell me – who do you think you are? How do you describe yourself? We often are self-deprecating and minimize our accomplishments when someone asks us to list all our attributes. Or we list all of our worst attributes.

Digging into who you are – your identity –  is a powerful way to call out that negative voice in our head and acknowledge our value. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, lays out a very clear connection between identity and habit change. He teaches that our behavior must be backed up by our identity. For example, when we see ourselves as a healthy person, it is easier to create healthy habits. When we identify as a non-drinker, we can turn down the offer for a glass of wine with more ease. When we identify as kind or generous we connect with our core values and create behavior that aligns with these values.

Identity is about who we are being, our sense of self and purpose or mission in life. Values support our identity as they are the reason why we feel the way we do. They are what motivates us to behave the way we do, make the decisions and choices we make.

In this episode I outline two simple ways to explore your identity. The first comes from Stephen Stonsy, PhD and is listed here:

He instructs us to give a complete answer to the question: Who Am I?

I am….

As you list the items that describe you, take pride in each of the positives and try to improve the negatives. Record your identity list into your phone  and play it back at least once a day for a minimum of one week. This exercise helps us reflect on our self-awareness and understand that our identity will change many times over our lifetime. That, says Stephen Stonsy, is the wonder of you!

A friend and fellow coach recently shared a concept with me that I think is a powerful way to explore this idea and check in with ourselves about the alignment of our values, our actions and our identity. She shared this three-part reflection and journal prompt:

  1. Who I used to be…
  2. Who I have worked hard to become…
  3. Who I will always be…

I hope you will try one or both of these prompts. Exploring our new identity as we let go of drinking and move into an alcohol-free life is a beautiful connection to becoming more while honoring all parts of ourselves.

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