Who Do You Think You Are?
Confession (and many of you will NOT be surprised by this): I kind of love facebook. I love it for staying connected to folks, I love it for sharing what’s going on with me, and I love it for the inspiration I get in various forms. Sometimes it’s new recipes to try, sometimes it’s the projects that intrigue me, and sometimes it’s about quotes that hit me in just the right way. Years ago, just such a quote did exactly that. I came across a frame-worthy nugget of wisdom from Lao Tzu, which says, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be”.
Man, I love these words. So much so, that I printed the original image, in colour, and posted it in my office where I can (and do) see it every time I sit down at my desk. It challenges me to let go of my preconceived notions of self, even as I embrace what’s true about my essence.
In this enlightened age, you are encouraged to know yourself, to be true to who you are in all that you do. Indeed, this is a creed by which I myself live, a creed of authenticity. Many learned folks have told us that knowing who we are is essential to living a life of integrity.
And yet, there’s a pitfall.
When you are so certain about who you are, you limit your capacity to be more. You see, as a human being you are capable of so much. There is really very little that you cannot do; no quality that you cannot be. Everyone is capable of doing great things, not-so-great things, being kind, being mean, telling the truth, lying, pushing boundaries, trying new things – you get the idea.
While you might subscribe to certain belief systems and certain ideas of who you are and who you want to be, there is opportunity that opens up for you outside of “who you are.” In other words, there’s something to be said for letting go of “this is who I am” and standing in the question of “who else am I?” When you do this, you allow yourself to stretch – to stretch your capacity, your capabilities, your opportunities.
Take a moment and answer this question: who are you? Write down the answers that are top of mind. Now answer this: what are your strengths and weaknesses? Write down those answers, without judgment or editing. Next, answer this: what is something that you avoid doing? Write down those answers. And finally, ask yourself, who else are you capable of being -- and what might be possible, if you embraced that person more?
Bottom-line: knowing who you are is a good thing. Heck, it’s essential. At the same time, letting go of who you are in service of who you might be is an even better thing. Learn to dance with both who you are and who you might be. As you do so, watch yourself become ALL of who you truly are.