On identity and doing


We are not what we do for a living.  Our job? That thing we go to every day?  That is not who we are. It is changeable.

While this is a little different for  "identity jobs" like teacher, attorney, doctor, tailor, pilot, professional athlete, etc, for the most part, our jobs are the way we make money to support ourselves.  Hopefully we enjoy them, but they aren't who we are and it helps to remind ourselves of that sometimes--especially if there is a gap between what we do for a living and our higher dreams.

However, there are other things we do that are completely about identity.  For example, if I tell you I am truthful, but you catch me in a few lies, then you will discount what I say about myself and label me based on my practices. Why?

Because what we do in practice, makes us who we are.

I feel like I should type that again.

What we do in practice, makes us who we are.

All of those little actions...all of those choices...culminate in our identity.

So, here is where the power comes in with this...if we change our practices, we can change who we are.

If we change our practices, we can change who we are.

You've probably heard the phrase "fake it until you make it."  That phrase is about adopting the practices of the identity you want to assume until it actually becomes your identity.

Now, here is another little known fact.  We are not always honest with ourselves about our practices. You may have heard someone reference an identity based on their previous practices as if they were still true even when evidence reveals it is no longer true.  For example, a former college athlete might talk about herself as if she is still an athlete, when you happen to know that she is actually a current couch potato.  Or someone may call themselves a "family man" in their bio when you happen to know they've spent no time with their kids since the divorce. If someone shares a lot of "glory day" stories it is often them trying to convince themselves that they are still who they used to be; and while this is easy to see in someone else, it is not always easy to see in ourselves.

As Kathy-of-the-Mom-Bows often says, "you have to be ruthless with the truth about yourself."

Self-inquiry is an important habit.  Looking at what we actually do and how it forms us is the only way we will ever be able to become who we most want to be. And here's the thing, keeping practices and making change in our lives is hard.  If we want a truthful identity, then we have to keep our word even when it costs us.  If we want an active lifestyle, then we have to turn off the television and get outside even when we're exhausted.

What we do determines who we become. So, let's do the little things that matter to us so we can become something great.


© Random Cathy
Maira Gall