One of the most common issues facing the clients I have worked with over the years is not understanding what defines them. “I don’t know who I am. I feel empty.” So many of us go through our lives on autopilot and afraid to feel and experience life. Many of us are scared to have expectations and dreams. Life is too short not to live it. It is important to know ourselves and what we want from our lives.
Who are we? We are every thought, feeling, and experience we have had. We are the meaning we give to things. We are not what others think we are or should be. Many parents define their children. As adults many people use these outdated beliefs to guide their lives. Just because your parents had a certain belief, you are not required to care this thought with you. My Mother had the belief that life is a bitch and then you die. Much of my life I accepted this belief. As my Mother was before me, I was depressed and negative. I went years without realizing that I was depressed and that there was actually an alternative to what I was experiencing. I can’t call it “feeling” because I was pretty numb most of the time. When I finally realized that this wasn’t working for me and that my life was a mess, I had no idea that I had options. All I knew was what I was taught and what I believed. It took time. I tried different thoughts and beliefs. Then I tried one that began to work after a while. “Life is to be enjoyed.” It took time and was uncomfortable. But, after some time it worked much better.
What I learned is that I am my thoughts and feelings as well as my values and beliefs. I am the one who determines what that is. I am continuing to change and evolve as a person. What defines me is what is inside me and not what others believe about me. I try to convey and teach my clients to do this for themselves. This way that can be defining themselves and know what defines them.