Who are you? How do you identify yourself? Do you give your name? Do you give your occupation? How do you see yourself?
How you see yourself is CRUCIAL to your success in life. And it is just as crucial that you give considerable thought to who you are as a person. You MUST know who you are…your Identity.
Consider this: Suppose you identify yourself as a model (ok, just pretend for a moment). If you see yourself as a model, what do you concern yourself with? How you look, how you dress, your height, weight, complexion, hair, and every part of how you look. If you put on some weight or lose some weight, even a couple of pounds, it can have a HUGE effect on your self esteem. If you see a blemish, you focus all of your thoughts and efforts on erasing this blemish.
Big problem…day after day, you slowly get older. There are some things you can’t control as you get older. And you know that younger models tend to get hired more than older models. Your self-esteem goes down the tubes.
Or how about this? You are a world-class athlete. You work out every day, making sure that you are in shape. You train every day at your sport. You compete regularly at perform at a top level.
And then, you tear your ACL. Or you break your leg/arm/hand/wrist/ankle (choose one). Suddenly, immediately, you are out of competition for a year. Where’s your self-esteem now? Are you discouraged? Perhaps.
Let’s take a different example. Let’s say that, ever since the 8th grade, you wanted to be a school teacher. You worked hard ever since you were 14 in one particular area of study, achieving excellence at every level. You received top grades, local and state awards and honors all the way through high school. You worked very hard towards your double major. Suddenly, 2 years into your persuit of a double major, you receive a letter from one of the two departments where you are majoring that states that the professors got together and they do not think you will ever succeed at earning your major in their field. Furthermore, they feel that you should focus all your efforts at pursuing your other major and forget about continuing on in their department.
How would you feel? What would you do? How’s your self-esteem now?
That last scenario actually happened to me in college. I was pursuing a double major in vocal and instrumental music education. 2 years into my coursework, I received a letter from the piano faculty stating that they don’t feel that I will EVER pass my piano proficiency, and that I should pursue my instrumental music education major.
I was crushed. Devastated. I moped around for a while. Depressed about it. Then I decided the faculty was doing me a favor by giving me this letter. I would be able to focus on what I COULD accomplish instead of what I would NEVER be able to accomplish. They were just helping me to see what was plain to them, and in doing so, saved me a lot of time, wasted effort, and money. I took their advice.
I know that there are people that would have told me to beat the odds and go for it…that I should redouble my efforts and take another run at it. I probably could have, but I honestly always saw myself being a band director (since the 8th grade) and that my burning desire didn’t include being both a band and choir director. What mattered is how I saw myself for who I thought I was.
How you see yourself helps determine so many things. If you see yourself as a successful person, your odds of becoming that person are great. As the late Earl Nightingale said so many times, “We become what we THINK about.” We have all heard people say things like “garbage in/garbage out” and “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” All of these concepts start in the mind as an idea, and then the mind tells the body to put it into action. So it is doubly important to know who you are as a person before all this begins. So I will ask you again….
Who are you?
How do you identify yourself? Do you identify yourself by which family you are in? By your occupation? By how many children you have? By who your spouse is? By how tall, short, skinny, fat, healthy, unhealthy, well dressed, rich, poor, athletic, smart you are? Be careful here, because how you see yourself has a strong influence in how you live your life.
•If you identify yourself by your abilities, and you suddenly lose those abilities, then what?
•If you identify yourself by your looks, and they suddenly change, then what?
•If you identify yourself by your line of work, and suddenly lose your job or your entire carreer, then what?
•If you identify yourself by how wealthy you are and suddenly lose it all, then what?
•If you identify yourself by who you are married to, and suddenly find yourself divorced, then what?
•If you have your legs cut off, are you still you?
•If you have your hands or arms cut off, are you still you?
•If you go bankrupt, are you still you?
•Is your value to your spouse, your kids, your family, your friends determined by your ability to “perform” for those people?
•If you can’t “perform” those duties, will they stop being your spouse, kids, familiy, or friends?
These are very hard questions to answer, but the answers to these questions matter! That is why it is critical to know who you are! Here are some of the ways in which I know who I am:
I am a Child of God. (John 1:12)
I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I believe Jesus came to Earth to sacrifice his life so that my sins could be forgiven, and that he rose again 3 days later from the grave. All I had to do was accept his gift of forgiveness of my sins and his gift of eternal life with Him. By doing this, I became a Child of God. This fact will never change.
I am Carrie’s Husband.
On December 31st, 2008, I made a solemn vow to Carrie, God, and witnesses that, from this day forward, I will love, honor, and cherish Carrie until death do us part. I have this role for the rest of our life together. It is a daily pursuit and commitment of mine, and I take it very seriously. I have to fulfill this on a daily basis, as I have made a solemn vow and I will keep it. This fact will never change.
I am the Father of Elizabeth, Danielle, Joshua, Hannah, and Caleb.
It is my job to be a role model for my children regardless of my feelings. I set an example regularly for them, whether it be a good one or a bad one. Even though I do not live with them (they live with their mother and Elizabeth is on her own now), I need to remember that whatever I say or do needs to be worthy of that example. I know that I do not always give them a good example, but I need to continually strive to be the best example I can be. This fact will never change. I will always be their father forever.
Every day, I strive to live my life knowing these 3 things. I try to make my decisions with these facts in mind. Do I always succeed? No. But how I think, how I act, what my career is, all these things stem from how I see myself.
How do you see yourself? Do you know who you are?
More next time,