The Perils of Self-Identity
Most of us have a horrid little voice inside.
This is the voice that is endlessly critical, kicks us when we’re down, is our own worst enemy.
This is the part of us that punishes ourselves. It’s also the part that often shouts the loudest.
Things like meditation, or healing, will definitely shrink this voice over time.
The key problem is: We have tens of thousands of thoughts a day. The vast majority of these are negative in some form or other:
- I can’t
- I’m not good enough
- I don’t deserve
Can you imagine how you’d feel if someone stood next to you and told you you were shit, twenty times a day?
(Actually, I did have that happen in my physics class when I was 16 – but that’s a story for another time).
What happens over time is unsurprising: We start to believe it.
If it continues for long enough, we become it.
This is one of the reasons I’ve been so enthusiastic about using healing tools the last decade or so. They’re simply the most effective way I’ve found of permanently silencing that horrid little voice (not just temporarily quietening it)
Obviously there are many ways of temporarily shutting it up – hard exercise, booze, sleep, escapism, etc.
I like to be efficient though. Why do something, only to have to do it all again tomorrow, and then every day for the rest of your life? I’d much rather do it once and move on.
The most insidious of the forms of negative self talk I’ve found are statements that start with “I am…”
Because if we say “I am” often enough, about anything, it very swiftly becomes who we are.
Of course, it’s one thing to say something out loud, or in our conscious mind. The sneaky thing is when our inner mind is repeating it to us. When the inner mind is doing it, we’ll hear it thousands of times a day, not just the tens of times we might say it ourselves. Guess which voice is going to win?
The other problem with “I am” statements is that precisely because they do become part of who we are, they’re almost impossible to see. It’s like that old joke.
Two fish swim past each other.
“Hey kiddo,” says one, “How the water today?”
“Hey old man,” the second one replies “What’s water?”
So. We have the delightful situation of negative automatic thoughts circling our brain all day, defining who we are. Worse yet, we can’t see what those thoughts even are.
What can we do?
I’m glad you asked!
The key is to find all these internal “I am” statements, then just dump them, one by one.
Obviously, the important thing here is to start choosing which ones you want to keep.
If you’re believe you’re utterly lovely (And really? You are) well that’s a belief worth keeping.
So, find somewhere quiet, and just brain dump (or mind map). Simply say out loud “I am…” and let your brain finish the sentence.
Start describing yourself, your life, your existence – starting with “I am” statements.
Pretty soon you’re going to have a massive list of things “you are.”
Now, before your brain starts freaking out and justifying these statements by looking for external evidence (“Of course I’m poor! Just look at my bank accounts”, “Of course I’m anorexic, look how fat I am”) realise this: we create the world around us.
We don’t get these beliefs by measuring our existence. We start by seeing some tiny thing, drawing a conclusion, having that conclusion strengthen into a belief, and subtly look for more and more evidence that backs up our belief.
Once we believe something strongly enough, we’ll start creating that in our life (even if it’s something that rationally we don’t want).
Pretty soon, our existence is the strongest proof possible that our belief is true.
We love being right, even if it hurts us.
For right now though? Fuck your existence. Is carrying this shitty thought around helping you? Making you feel better? No? Then why not get rid of it.
Of course, if you want to stay feeling shitty, or hold on to these crappy “I am” statements – well, you’re the boss of you, so you’re very welcome to keep doing that too. Who am I to tell you what to do? I just want you to be happy and fulfilled, and to help you get there any way I can.
If you want to get rid of them though, here’s what I suggest:
- Stick with each “I am statement”
- Repeat it to yourself (ideally, while rubbing/tapping your sore points)
- Focus in on any physical or energetic tension or clutching that arises (eg, getting pissed off)
- Consciously relax that part of your body (ie, release it), or tap
- Repeat until you feel clear, calm and loving while saying the statement
When you’re totally calm and peaceful about it (not apathetic) you know the issue is 100% gone.
Then, repeat for each other limiting/negative “I am” statement.
How does this work? Well, the physical, emotional and energetic are all linked in together. We’re one system that works holistically. So, if you alter one part of your system (eg physically relax) everything else (emotional, energetic) will shift with it.
Now, when you start, this may feel like an insurmountable mountain of crap. I know, I’ve been there (ha ha, oh boy).
However, once you get into it, you’ll find you can clear a lot of shitty beliefs, really quite damn quickly. A lot of the time, it may only take a few minutes each.
So, you can make a ton of progress to improving the hell out of your life, in a very finite timeframe.
Of course, if the “I am” feels sticky, or it seems like it’s not quite gone, just be persistent. Drink some water and give it another bash. It’ll go.
Clearing out the shitty “I am” stories is like cleaning the water in your aquarium.
You start to see life more clearly. From there, you then gain the freedom to choose exactly what kind of life you consciously want.