The other day I was watching a Netflix series when I had a soul-touching epiphany. You know, the kind where the grey veil of illusion is lifted from the world and you’re flooded with an experience of color and clarity that you didn’t even know existed. You simply get it.
The series is called “Limitless” and tells the story of a struggling musician who turns FBI consultant. Sounds strange, but he’s got a superpower. When he takes a small transparent pill called NZT he receives access to 100% of his brain function and morphs into a crime-solving genius.
The interesting part was that he’s finally the version of himself that he’s always wanted to be. No more slacking, no more struggling and no more procrastination. He feels on purpose. He’s living his full potential.
Sounds like something we all want, right? Yet, his enhanced identity throws him into an identity crisis. The more NZT he takes, the more it feels like he’s losing himself. He’s a better version, yes. But different from how his family and friends knew him.
That’s when Bradley Cooper’s character pops the question that made the heaven’s part for me. It kept echoing through my mind: “Why do you want to hold on to your old self before NZT so badly?”
Why do we hold on to our (old) “self” so badly?
In the personal development community, we’re aware that parts of our character, behavior or mindset are not supporting the achievement of our life goals. Whether it’s in the areas of love, career or health, we intuitively know we need to change in order to get the improved results we desire, don’t we?
Einstein gave us a sparkly pearl of wisdom when he gave us the definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
So, isn’t it intriguing to discover why we don’t reinvent ourselves more often? Why do we stay loyal to our bad habits and disempowering thoughts when we know they hurt us and keep us from the fulfilling life we actually desire?
Where does our identity come from?
All information about our self is safely stored in the 90% of our identity that we have little conscious control over, our subconscious mind.
Scientists say we’re operating in theta brainwave until the age of 7. Theta is the frequency that allows deep programming because information enters our subconscious without having to pass any filters. This means we’re a sponge and whatever ideas are presented to us and whatever feelings are triggered, they stick with us through life.
All of our life’s experiences become part of our identity. We’ve been conditioned to believe certain things about ourselves, society and life. We’ve also been exposed to situations that felt good or not so good, and we’ve drawn our conclusions from them. From early on we had to make tough decisions that will guarantee our survival because we needed the care of our family. Even seemingly small incidents from an adult point of view can cause a child to create a coping mechanism that is limiting its full self-expression throughout life.
What “self” are we so desperately holding on to?
Our identity is quite bluntly a more or less random selection of conditioned beliefs and programs that have happened to us in life. We’re not created by design, instead, we’re the sum of our life experiences and what we made those mean for us.
Let this sink in…
You’re not who you believe you are.
You are not your current identity.
What you really are is a bundle of creative energy that can choose who you want to be. You choose your identity. Your past doesn’t define you. Every moment you have the opportunity to make new choices and with it create a new version of yourself.
You’re not designed by intention: Your identity is a random selection of conditioned beliefs and programs that happened to you in life so this means you don’t need to over-identify with your past self.
You can design with intention: You have the creative energy of the whole universe inside of you and the power of free will choice in order to consciously redesign yourself.
If you have the ability to reinvent yourself at any given moment in time in order to align with your true soul- and purposeful expression, why not lose yourself (at least some parts) and consciously redesign yourself?
How to Redesign Yourself
We can’t fill a full glass of water, so first, we need to uncreate the parts of us that no longer serve the accomplishment of our goals.
It’s not that anything is wrong with who we are. This is a conscious choice of becoming the most powerful version of ourselves that is in full alignment with our soul purpose. And here is how you do this;
Your old identity: Let’s make a list of character traits and behaviors that are not in alignment with one or more of your life goals. Take a piece paper, write “[Your name]’s Old Identity” on top and set a 10-minute timer. use the time to free write everything that comes to mind without censoring your thoughts. Once you’re done, mark the traits that you’d like to uncreate with an X.
Redesign yourself: Pick a new piece of paper. On top of the page write “[Your Name]’s Identity” and place it next to your first sheet. Now turn all the character traits that you’ve marked to “uncreate” into empowering character traits and write them down on the new sheet of paper. It’s worth it to note down all the details from your fashion style, where you live, your lifestyle all the way to how you behave and feel each day. For instance, if your old identity was “procrastinates”, then your new identity can be “takes a small or big action immediately upon making a choice.”
Making it stick: Writing this down won’t make any difference unless you act on it. If you’ve done this right, most of the points on your “New Identity” list are far out of your comfort zone. That’s great! Your task now is to do things you usually don’t do. Your job is to get comfortable being uncomfortable. You can experiment with creating a vision board as a reminder of your new self. Or you can create affirmations to imprint your new beliefs in your subconscious mind. Yet, nothing will work unless you uncreate your old identity by taking new action and making new choices.
It may be scary to think that we lose our own identity. But isn’t it worth it to let go of the past when the outcome promises a life by design that can truly set our soul on fire?
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Sharon Kirstin is a Bestselling Author, Success Coach & Energy Counsel.
She built the Web & Mobile Usability department for one of the world’s most successful startups ranking #5 in The Wall Street Journal’s “Billion Dollar Startup Club” 2014.