The biggest lie we tell ourselves is, “It’s just who I am.” Who we are isn’t set in stone. It’s fluid and can change if we want it to. One of the most beautiful parts of humanity is the ability to change and adapt.
Instead of asking, “Who am I?” what if we ask, “Who do I want to be?”
If we’re not happy with our physical appearance, we can take steps to change it. Why do we assume the same doesn’t apply to who we are on a fundamental level?
Often, when we defend ourselves with the statement, “It’s just who I am,” it’s in response to something we or others view as a negative aspect of our being. We resign ourselves to being whoever we are in one fixed moment. These negative traits are often born of traumatic events. Once the trauma is over, we may feel stuck in a trauma mindset, which leads us to develop negative behavior patterns that seem like they will always be part of who we are. We feel that these patterns are beyond our control.
Instead of assuming these negative traits are something outside of our control, we should ask ourselves just one simple question: “Who do I want to be?”
Once we decide who we want to be, it’s up to us to put in the work to become that person. Change doesn’t happen in an instant, and it doesn’t come easily, but isn’t it worth it to know that we are creating the life we want instead of settling for whatever life we happened to stumble into?
It’s easy to use “It’s just who I am” as a defense mechanism, because real and lasting change is hard and terrifying.
It is easier to allow our pasts to define us and to allow our trauma to determine our behavior than it is to put in the work required to become a better version of ourselves. Using our pasts and our trauma as an excuse to explain away negative behavior patterns is much easier than doing the work to understand the motives behind the behavior so we can take steps to change it.
I recently read a quote that said, “Just because your pain is understandable doesn’t mean your behavior is acceptable.” Many of us tend to excuse our own behavior and the behavior of others because we understand that it comes from a place of hurt.
The adage “Hurt people hurt people” is so true. When we’ve been hurt in some way, we tend to lash out and hurt those around us. Instead of assuming this is just part of who we are and how we have to be, we can empower ourselves to change the narrative. We can identify our broken parts and work to mend them.
We can ask ourselves, “Who do I want to be?”
Do I want to be someone who repeats patterns I developed in the midst of trauma? Do I want to be someone who uses my pain as an excuse to hurt others? Do I want to be someone who is terrified to explore my potential? Do I want to be someone who rejects vulnerability in an effort to protect myself?
Or do I want to be someone who learns from trauma and allows it to make me a safe place for others? Do I want to be someone who sees pain in others and extends the grace and patience they need to work through it? Do I want to be someone who recognizes the good in myself and works to magnify it? Do I want to be someone who chooses vulnerability because I trust others to handle my feelings carefully?
We don’t have to remain where we are and how we are if we don’t want to. We are the only ones with the power to determine who we are, and it’s time to decide.
Who do you want to be?