I first heard Wayne Dyer ask this question at one of his conferences:
“Who would you be be if nobody told you who you were?” (in his shorts and cute little flip-flops.)
Holy Sweet Downward Dog, I don’t know the answer. I don’t know who I’d be.
At that time the question blew me right out my seat.
I came back to my seat fully inhabited as somebody else.
You mean I get to decide who I am? I get to say who I am in the world rather than simply letting someone tell me?
What the what?
For a long time I let the people around me dictate who I was. Sure, I was dealing with depression but the constant reminder that I should smile more, that I was so sad all the time actually had the effect of keeping me in that space. So I decided that was who I was. Sad and depressed.
And that was that about that.
I also have a severe hearing problem and before people knew that important fact they would think I was an airhead or just very checked out. You kind of start to believe it after a while. I’m just a dingbat. I’m just an airhead.
Enough people tell you what and who you are and—what do you know?—you start to decide it’s the truth! You start to accept that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
You get to decide as many times as you like just who you are. Moment to moment. Breath to breath.
I was a waitress at the same place for thirteen years. Half-heartedely pretending to be an actress. Now I am a yoga teacher (or joyologist as I like to say) and a writer and motivational speaker. No pretending or half-heartedness.
And guess what else? I decided that I am not an airhead, I simply CAN’T HEAR!
Despite what the world told me about my character and who I was. I chose differently.
I love that Einstein quote above.
As I say in my poem “How To Make A Life” you get to decide over and over, as many times as you like , just who you are.
I lead an exercise in my workshops and retreats where I have people finish the sentence I am _____.
You cannot finish the sentence with: I am fat, I am broke, I am tired , hungry, bored, etc.
Let your sentence be something powerful and authentic. Something that you truly believe you are, despite all the buts and ifs.
After all, this is your life sentence. Literally.
For example: if you’ve thought of yourself as just a mom for years (and I know many who have thought themselves that even though the “just” makes me cringe), especially if you have done that, this exercise is profound.
You are the one making the rules.
You get to finish your I am-ness with whatever you like.
Why not? You are the creator of your world.
So here’s who I am. At least today: I am a healer. I am a writer. I am inspired. I am inspiring. I am powerful.
But most of all: I am love.
I lead my Manifestation retreats and workshops all around the world where I provide a safe space for people to connect to the truth of who they really are.
One exercise I ask people to do is to say their “I am-ness” aloud and then pick someone in the room as a partner. They then share their “I am-ness” before looking in their partner’s eyes for three minutes straight, without saying a word.
(It’s intense. Try it with someone.)
Some people weep. Some laugh. Some want to crawl out of their skin and beat the sh*t out of me.
But all know that the person looking in their eyes sees them exactly as who they said they were.
Who are you?
I dare you.
Today’s Challenge is the question: Who Would You be if Nobody Told You who you were?
Add your response below in a comment. Finish the sentence I am ________.
Fill it in with something powerful and inspiring.
Fill it with you who really are. Despite it all and because of it all.
Go ahead and say it. I am ___________.
Jennifer Pastiloff was recently featured on Good Morning America. She is a yoga teacher, writer, and advocate for children with special needs based in L.A. She is also the creator of Manifestation Yoga® and leads retreats and workshops all over the world. Jennifer is currently writing a book and has a popular daily blog called Manifestation Station. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.