Achieve Your Potential
News and Notes

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Embrace Your Identity, Empower Your Life

Our individual DNA and our unique fingerprints serve to identify us as individuals unique among all other beings. We go through life with personal identification numbers, like our social security number, assigned to us to help distinguish us from other individuals. We may even consider our name to be part of our identity, and yet many of us have common names that we share with others. With these diverse definitions of identity available to us, it is interesting to note that when asked “what is your identity?” many people often respond with a quizzical look or a blank stare. Some will say something like “that depends,” but the most profound answer and the one that seems most accurate is: “My identity is determined by a complex mix of things.”

Identity is the term for how you see yourself. It is comprised of two parts: your internal identity – innate talents, gifts and characteristics, and your external identity – the roles or labels that society bestows upon you.

All people have these external components of identity, which are comprised of many cultural descriptors relating to their nationality, race, religion, gender and family position. It is easy to understand why so many of us relate our identity to our cultural group, family role or job title. However, many people stop with these external definitions for who they are, and in doing so, disregard the other (internal) part of their identity. When identity is drawn from the external definitions only, people will tend to seek something else to make them feel whole – connections, relationships and accomplishments.

All of us also have natural gifts, talents, strengths and capabilities that make up our internal identity. This is the aspect of identity that needs to be fostered. Awareness of your internal identity involves looking inside yourself and appreciating the unique characteristics that define the true you. What are the values and beliefs ingrained in how you operate? What are the special gifts that you bring to this lifetime to share? What are the challenges you face, the lessons you need to learn, the circumstances that will allow you to live a life of purpose that manifests your highest ideals?

Embracing your full identity comes from the melding of both internal and external elements. When identity is formed from both components, individuals are more apt to appreciate their uniqueness and the full sense of what makes them whole. The formation of identity is an evolutionary process that balances the internal and external sources of that which defines who we are. Embracing both parts of our identity allows us to associate with others and to be uniquely individual. As human beings, we are the totality of our cultural and societal classifications together with our distinctive physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual characteristics.

Identity, in the full awareness model, is the foundation for who you “are”—not what you “do” or what you “have.” With a complete sense of identity, you are never second best because you are a unique being. When you accept yourself as unique, you are less likely to fall into the comparison trap, and when you embrace your whole identity, your motivation to achieve emanates from within. With this awareness of your identity, striving to reach your potential comes from an internal motivation, and you are free to just be.

Awareness of your identity spawns your creativity, your passion, your energy and your vision. It is empowering to tap into your internal gifts and talents. This self-knowledge helps you be on your power base --a central stance from which you draw your strength and stability. When you are on your power base, there is a solid foundation, and you are less likely to falter. From this posture, you are in a better position to resist outside forces that threaten to move you off-center as you pursue fulfillment of your potential.

No comments:

Post a Comment