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Redefining Who You Are

Updated on May 15, 2020
Grahame Milton-Jones profile image

Grahame has used his knowledge of psychotherapy built up over 20 years to provide this valuable advice.

Questioning Man
Questioning Man | Source

Become born again but this time with YOU setting the rules

There are many people who are happy with themselves, who they are and how they live their lives. For every such fortunate person however, there are scores of people who are unhappy, maybe profoundly so, and feel trapped to relive the same miserable existence day after day.

Obviously, it is not possible to have an actual rebirth and start again. No one (yet) can go back into the past and start their lives from day one. The concept is that anyone can decide to change their whole lives from tomorrow morning; from then on their lives will never be the same.

It is important to accept that you are not who you think you are

You believe that you have a personality that was constructed at birth and that is who you are and always will be. None of that is true.

  1. When you were born, you had a number of characteristics passed down to you from your family, but this is only a small part of you.
  2. Your family (mainly parents) taught you how to behave and what to believe, and this conditioning went so deep that you now believe it all.
  3. You reacted to events as they arose in your life and you got into a habit of behaving that way.

Questioning girl
Questioning girl | Source

So – Who Are You?

You are a pattern of habitual behaviour called a “Personality”

Your mind, however, is in two parts:

  1. The conscious part (who you think is you).
  2. The unconscious part (that does almost all the thought processing for you).

Almost all your thinking is by habit; you do not even get dressed, have breakfast, drive to the supermarket; all this is carried out by habit. It has been estimated that over 90% of everything you decide is done habitually, that is without consciously being involved in it.

This means that your behaviour in almost every circumstance, how you react to events is defined by your past. Your personality is not thought out, it is how you react by habit.

If you want to change your personality, to redefine yourself, you have to start thinking about what you do rather than just react out of habit.

In addition, your unconscious mind produces a more childlike response, whereas the conscious mind is the more adult. So, if you want to improve the maturity of your behaviour, you have to be more conscious in your daily life.

Why make the change to conscious thought?

Thoughts affect the progression of your life. When you dwell on the past, you tend to focus on the negative events leaving you with feelings of insecurity, anxiety, guilt and other neurosis. Habitual thinking locks you into the past thought processes which must stop. Without conscious thought you are living your life with instructions from the past which may not be relevant today.

Alternatively, when you dwell on the future, you can focus on opportunities, and therefore be positive.

How do you redefine who you are?

Essentially, you have to break the habit of being you. You cannot create a new future for yourself with the same personality. If you try, you will simply fall back into the same old ways and end up with the same old life.

You can create new habits in a few days, and so have a new life in a few days

There are a number of practical steps needed to form new behaviour and hence a new personality:

  1. Every morning, start the day by deciding that you will think about what you do rather than just react. Believe that today is a restart of your life.

  2. Avoid routine because this lulls you into habitual thinking.

  3. When decisions arise, think rather than respond. Use your conscious mind to decide. Consciously create new habits which are relevant to you today.

  4. Make decisions on the information currently present instead of what you have done in the past.

  5. Spend some time deciding who you are and how you behave, then act that way until it becomes a new habit. Practise how you now do things until your unconscious mind makes the habit of being the new you.

You have to reinvent who you are

Of course this is really hard work. You will not complete this in a day or two. In a month, however, you can change a huge amount; if you wanted to you could change your accent, your eating habits, your weight, your health, the way you deal with problem neighbours, the way you handle your family, and even stop exploding when someone cuts you up on a roundabout. You may even decide that your middle name is no longer “Doormat”. It is important to plan what you intend to do otherwise all the change will be exhausting. A series of small changes is better than a single huge one.

Of course if you are happy with your life and who you are, then you need not make any change whatsoever. If this is not the case, then take the plunge into the cold water of change and expect that when you emerge again, many people will not recognise you.

You will experience resistance to becoming the new you

There is a problem with personality change, and that is called “resistance”. This comes from two places, the first being within your own mind. Your unconscious mind prefers to do what it has always done and will try to bring you back to that. This old, habitual thought requires less effort and is very comfortable. Be aware that your unconscious mind can be very clever and entice you to return to the warm and comfortable past behaviour. You will have to be vigilant.

Secondly, you will experience resistance from your friends and family. They believe that they know and understand you and will try to keep you as you are. They will ask you if something is wrong because you are not behaving in your usual way. They will want you to be your old self and it may take them weeks or months to accept your new personality.

Confident Woman
Confident Woman | Source

Conclusion

If you are not happy with who you are (or just parts of who you are), take the time to decide which aspects of your personality you want to change. Because most behaviour is habitual, all you have to do is change your habits.

Though it sounds easy, it is not; it takes time and effort.

If you believe that you are worth the time and effort, start the process today, but watch out for the resistance from both within yourself and from those around you. There is little that you cannot change in your personality, and it is usually the small things that result in the big changes.

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