Who Am I?
My goodness, what a question to ask! But it was one of the questions that was posed at a coaching workshop I attended this week – it was actually the first question if I remember rightly, and to be honest it was a question that I left alone to begin with because it kinda blew my mind.
So, I started with the “Who/What pisses you off?” question and created an amazingly detailed colour map aptly named ‘Fuck It’ and then thoroughly enjoyed burning in the fireplace once it was complete.
Negativity sorted, I returned to the original question…
And interestingly when I did get back to it, I realised that it tied in with what I had been thinking and talking about all week, and that is Labels.
These labels are the words we use to explain and often define who we are and I’ve discovered three distinct types:
1. Those we are given by other individuals – sometimes these can be empowering but more often they are words that cut deeply into our soul and hurt us badly. When people call us names and we start to identify with them, these labels can become lifelong wounds. For example, I remember being told once as a teenager that I was very selfish (duh – show me a teenager that isn’t). It wasn’t my behaviour that was being labelled, it was me, and because it was from someone I adored it felt terrible. I must admit that a good part of my early adult life was spent being exactly the opposite to somehow try and prove this label wrong – and at a cost to my own health and happiness. So, it is important to think about how your words really impact someone because nasty words carry negative energy, just as kind words carry positive energy. And if you want some proof, take a look at Danielle LaPorte’s word experiment!
2. Those that society gives us – ah yes, the lovely labels given to us about who we are – our race, our religion, our job titles, our illnesses. Whilst these all have a place in the world and help us to categorise and recognise what we do and what ails us, somewhere along the line we have decided that it is better to be one thing than another. It is acceptable to be a policeman but not to be a psychic, an accountant but not an artist. So for those of us who do not fit into the mould that society provides we often feel lost or less than worthy when compared to those who fit into society’s acceptable categories. And for those of us who do fit into the mould, we can often feel constrained by it.
3. Those that we give ourselves – these are often some of the most difficult to change because we are usually our own harshest critic! These labels come from our ego and that place inside our head that tells us we are not worthy or good enough. The place where we compare ourselves to others and put self-love at the bottom of our priority list. See my Love Is All You Need post if you want to start tackling your self-image.
“My feeling is that labels are for canned food. I am what I am – and I know what I am.” ~ Michael Stipe , REM
So, back to my original question – Who Am I? Well, you can see part of my actual colour map for this below:
Now, I don’t believe that using labels is a bad thing if those labels are empowering. As with my own image above, I have used labels to radiate out from the central question, but radiating from those labels are the words that really explain what I am about and why these are important to me.
What I do believe is that sometimes we can hang on to negative labels that no longer serve us or even use positive labels as an easy way to hide what we are really trying to do because it can be uncomfortable for others (or ourselves). They allow us to lay blame elsewhere and ignore our responsibility for our own happiness.
“…in those low moments we seek the comforting reassurance that it’s not our fault, not our responsibility. It’s just our nature.” ~ Joseph Fonseca*
So here is a great exercise for you to do:
- Give yourself 10 minutes or so and make a list of ALL of the labels about yourself that you can think of – from anyone, anywhere and anytime (both positive and negative)
- Cross off any of those labels that no longer fit who you are, or who you want to be
- Look at the words that remain and see whether they give you an insight into who you actually are
What labels make you feel amazing and are worth keeping?
And remember – you are not your illness, your job, your sexuality, your star sign, your habits, your relationships, your weight or your skin colour. You are a unique individual with so many talents and gifts to share with the world. Celebrate those labels that feed your soul and ditch those that don’t.
Chrysocolla is a communication crystal. It helps you uncover inner truths and allows you to express your needs and desires. It is empowering and discharges negative energy. A perfect accompaniment for colour mapping and taking a good look at your own labels.
Related Reading & Sources
* Why Do We Seek Labels? – a blog post all about the comfort of self-labelling
Liz Abram – runs amazing Colour Mapping workshops and provides chocolate, tissues, felt tip pens, glitter glue and lots and lots of great insights. If you are based in the Midlands I can highly recommend her for both business and personal development.
Chrysocolla image from Crystal Wellbeing