There was a scorpion stuck on the bank of a stream who needed to get across. There was a frog near by, so the scorpion asked if he could ride across on its back. Before the frog made any hasty decision, he asked the scorpion, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion replied, “Because if I do, I will die too.” The frog was satisfied, and so they set out across the stream. They were half way across when the scorpion stuck his stinger into the frogs back. The frog was in disbelief as he felt the onset of paralysis and slowly started sinking. Knowing they both will drown, he has just enough time to gasp “Why!?” The scorpion replies: “Its my nature to sting. That’s who am I and it’s what I do.“
Just like the scorpion, we all have a self-definition, and the way we define ourselves can be helpful or hurtful. For many people their self-definition developed at a very young age and was the product of toxic messages from society and culture. What about you? What are some of the excuses or irrational beliefs you have that leave you sinking? Maybe it’s fear of the unknown, a lack of confidence, or a belief that you don’t deserve happiness. If we don’t examine our self-definition we can go through life reinforcing and bolstering a limiting view until we believe it is objectively accurate. We may think, “What’s the use in changing when it’s just the way I am?” That’s the “myth of me” and until we’re ready to examine our self-definition we’ll be stuck in the same rut. If you’re ready for some self-reflection, life can become full of new possibilities. You can expand your self-definition and move beyond the status quo you’ve been living from.
“We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon.” – Konrad Adenauer
Below are a few questions and considerations to help you gain awareness about how you connect with your identity and the person you are capable of becoming.
Are you being typecast?
Actor’s can become typecast in a role after they play a certain type of character over and over again. If they aren’t growing and expanding as an artist it can become difficult to shake this persona. We too can become typecast in our daily roles where we stop growing and limit our view of what is possible. How would you describe the role you play? Is is accurate or just the way things have always been? Sometimes we assume because we have always been a certain way we are stuck with this trait or characteristic. When the curtain falls who do you want to be remembered as? How can you start reinventing yourself?
Are you living from a purpose oriented life?
It is easy to get lost in the social order of busyness. We have countless tasks and responsibilities to attend to and are constantly on the go. We can begin to believe that we are the sum total of our responsibilities, career, and goals. We can loose track of the bigger picture. The bigger picture being: Why am I here? What is my life’s mission and calling? We become distanced from a greater purpose and meaning for our life. But it we’re willing to get in touch with our authentic self, we can live with greater awareness of our creativity, joy, and unique gifts and talents. We can leave a great legacy and become the positive presence we are meant to be.
Is your self-identity based on your family background?
Many people limit themselves based on what their family did before them. Their background makes it appear like they’re not equipped with certain qualities or not good enough to excel beyond the ordinary. This is not true. What your family did before you is immaterial to the future you can create. Biology isn’t destiny. You don’t inherent selfishness, narrow thinking, or a sense of defeat. Our character can be developed and changed. The way we approach adversity and challenges can be uplifting. You don’t have to identify with the limitations of those that came before you.
Would you want to spend the rest of your life with you?
You are stuck with yourself for life. There is no divorcing yourself. This is why it is important to begin building and growing a fruitful relationship first and foremost with you! Your self-image can change. You don’t have to accept the self-doubt and fear that has been a common pattern in the past. You don’t have to continue living with the toxic guilt and shame that you have always thought was natural. Begin treating yourself with respect and dignity. Know that you are good and begin nurturing your relationship with you.
4 Areas to Confront and Challenge the “Myth of Me”
When someone challenges our beliefs it can be difficult to hear. No one likes to acknowledge that they have flaws or that the way they see things isn’t accurate. Just as we don’t like it when others challenge our beliefs and opinions, it can be just as hard to challenge ourselves and begin changing the self-image we have clung to so tightly. Remember this myth is “who you are,” so it may not feel natural to try and change it. But if you’re ready, you can begin by confronting yourself in these four areas. Perceptions – Everyone see’s things from their own unique vantage point. Acknowledging that perceptions are different from person to person can help us open our mind to new possibilities in the way we see ourselves. How do you see things differently than others? What area of life could you benefit from getting feedback from others in order to help you grow and expand? Beliefs – Many of our beliefs stem from early life experiences. They are based on something that happened or something we were told as a child. If you haven’t examined your belief system in awhile you may be living with outdated beliefs. These early conclusions may be severely holding you back. What core beliefs do you have that are limiting your growth and development? How can you stimulate fresh and new thoughts? Assumptions – When we make assumptions about how a situation will unfold or how someone else perceives us, we are projecting our private judgements and inner world. Assumptions are often inaccurate and usually biased toward our own opinion. Consider if you tend to jump to conclusions, and if your assumptions are helping or hurting you? Are assumptions leading to misunderstanding and conflict, or to clarity? Expectations – Expectations are a foundation for our behavior patterns. Having either excessively high or low expectations can be problematic. Finding balance and acceptance with the flaws of others and yourself will help you be more discerning when making important decisions. At the same time, allow your expectations to serve you by keeping an optimistic attitude and expanding your vision of the possibilities that lie ahead.
If you’re ready, it’s time to the begin the journey to reinvention!
The way you define yourself today can be completely different the person you will become. Some part of us is yearning for change, growth, development, and a new and higher level. The journey before you may not be quick or easy, and frankly true transformation is a lifelong experience. But know that all adventures start with the first step and a commitment to the calling before you. Prepare yourself to take the first step toward self-transformation today.