Transformation coach Niamh Ennis poses a series of profound, potentially life-changing, questions.
Whenever I ask this question of anyone they assume I’m expecting an instant answer. The truth is that to answer this properly we need to think very long and very hard about it.
Who am I? It sounds ominous, but more often than not it is usually met with a response such as “I’m a teacher, I’m a mother, I’m a nurse, I’m a partner, I’m an architect, I’m a wife, I’m a daughter or I’m a friend”.
All correct of course, if you are any of these things, but rarely an answer to that bigger question. These are the labels from which we live our lives. These are how we think the outside world sees us. They are also how we want the outside world to see us, in our bid to fit in, to be accepted.
So let’s try coming at it from a different angle. Who do others say you are? How would they describe you?
- Then ask yourself this, is this true?
- Is this who you really are?
- Are you those things or are you someone different?
- Would you rather they saw you differently and if so, why?Stay with me now, as I take you through these next few questions which I asked myself, when I was searching for my own answer to this all important question, some time ago…
- Who am I when I don’t care what others think?
- Who am I when I’m not keeping myself busy and distracting myself?
- Who am I when I’m not planning and organising?
- Who am I when I am not working with others to make changes?
- Who am I when I am not grieving?
- Who am I when I am not trying to control every detail of my life?
- Who am I when I am not trying to prove I’m resilient?
- Who am I when I’m not using humour to deflect from what’s really happening?
- Who am I when I am amongst crowds of people?
- Who am I when I am still, when I am silent, when I just am?
- Who am I when I surrender?
We can all go through our lives without ever really stopping and thinking who we really are or who we want to become. But equally, we can fail to recognise that the answer can tell us so much about just HOW we live our lives. We all have a STORY that we believe to be true and from which we live out our lives on a daily basis.
So, what’s your STORY?
We may not always be aware we are living from this place, we may not even know when or how the story started for us, but it can and does determine so many of our thoughts, behaviours and actions.
Let me give you an example from my own life. For such a long time I lived my life from the story of being the girl who was bereaved. This influenced everything about how I saw myself and also how I thought others saw me.
I had not just let my many encounters with grief become part of me, I had allowed them to utterly define me. I played out that story for too long but I honestly didn’t even know I was doing it. It continued to be the story from which I lived my life a long way after it needed to.
When thinking about your goals or desires in life your starting point should always be “who do I want to become?” When was the last time you honestly thought about this? Who do you want to be in 12 months’ time, or 2 years, or even in 5 years?
It’s only when we know who we want to become that we can have any clue about where we need to start when it comes to setting our goals or making plans for our future.
Incidentally, this is also why so many people fail when it comes to achieving their goals or making New Year’s resolutions — the goals just don’t fit in with who they are and it all starts to feel totally out of step.
There’s a lot of talk about alignment these days. But most of us aren’t even sure what it feels like to be aligned because, yes you’ve guessed it, they aren’t even sure who they want to become.
When you do know who you want to become, you will have much more clarity on what you need to do to get there, and then when you begin doing that, you will learn very quickly what alignment feels like. It feels like what you are doing is exactly what you are supposed to be doing. Now this is progress!
When we are born we are very clear on who we are and what we want. Our needs are simple — just food, love and care. As we grow, we become aware of who it is that others want us to be, we may even start to discover that in order to be fully accepted we might need to change or adapt our ways.
We learn so many valuable lessons from our families that give us such a great start in the world. But we also learn from them about being too much, not being good enough, not being free to be ourselves and the need to conform. We learn fear. We learn who to look to for validation.
Before we know it, we measure our happiness based on how happy others are with us.
The innocence we are born with, slowly over time gets eroded and the subliminal message we are left with is that to be accepted, we must be who others want us to be.
The irony which has been well documented is that the struggle we grow up with through our childhood, our teenage years and even into our twenties, is that desire NOT to stand out when we spend so much of the rest of our lives wanting to be different, craving for the courage to be who we want to be.
So please never underestimate the importance of finding the answer to your own question of ‘who do I want to become?’. When you answer this honestly, you will then be able to honour yourself fully in all of the choices that you make in the future.
You will find yourself leading the life that is right for you, fully aligned with your purpose and moving you closer to being who you want to become.
Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading Transformation Coach, www.niamhennis.com, working with women who feel ready to make changes in their lives. Her next workshop ‘It’s Time for You to Take a Leap of Faith’ takes place on 29th February, 2020 in The Calm Rooms, Monkstown, Dublin. A limited number of tickets are available now by clicking here http://bit.ly/leapoffaithWS
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