How do you define yourself?

This is a lesson on how the way in which we define ourselves, determines are thoughts.  What is your definition?

Vegan Cooking

My wife is an amazing cook.  She specializes in cooking with whole, natural and unprocessed foods.  She makes a lot of vegan and vegetarian dishes.

The other day she asked me to try her vegan banana bread.  As the official taste tester for her website eatingflexitarian.com, I tried it.

I told her it was “good” in a loving husband type way, and she told me in a loving wife type way, that I was lying.

She was right!  My wife is a Kevin whisperer by the way, I can’t get anything past her.

I realized, that I didn’t like the bread because she told me it was “banana bread” before trying it.  This label immediately created an expectation in my mind of what it should taste like.

If she would have said “hey try this” instead of “hey try this vegan banana bread” I would have tasted it differently.  I would have tasted it without an expectation.

I tried it again without any preconceptions on what it should taste like, and it was actually really good.  It didn’t taste like traditional banana bread, it had its own unique taste, and that taste was delicious.  I defined the food before I even tasted it, and that definition gave me an expectation.

Think about this in terms of your own life.  How do you define yourself?

People generally act according to how they define themselves.  If we define ourselves as athletic, the voice in our heads reminds us to exercise.  If we define ourselves as “big boned” we tend to wave the white flag when it comes to working out.  We act in accordance with how we perceive and label ourselves.  If we say “I’m computer illiterate,” or “I’m not good at math,” or “I’m bad at relationships” then we will behave in a way that is consistent with that label.

The label we give ourselves, just like the label of vegan banana bread, sets an expectation.

Just to be clear, we all have our strengths and weaknesses.  Knowing your strengths and being able to evaluate your weaknesses can be valuable knowledge.  The problem is we often times define ourselves with negative labels that simply aren’t true.  Most likely, you aren’t really big boned, rather you are lacking the discipline and consistency to maintain a healthier body.  You aren’t computer illiterate, you simply have yet to put forth the required effort to learn computers.  This is not said to tear you down, as my goal is to bring positivity to your life.  I’m giving examples to show that we often define ourselves, and then allow that definition to prevent us from changing for the better.

Here is another great example.

The Navy Seal

Let’s imagine for a moment that a guy was in a coma for an extended period of time.  When he woke, his brain still worked fine as far as intelligence, but he had no memory of his life.  How would he react if he was told he was a Navy Seal?  How would he act if he was told he was a ballet teacher?  I’m not saying one is “better or worse” than the other, but they are definitely different.  Wouldn’t he act differently based on this label or definition of who he was before the coma?  You bet he would!  If he was told he was a Seal, he would carry himself as a Seal, or at least his perception of how a Seal would act.  The definition he was given of who he was would set an expectation as far as behavior, and he would carry himself based on this expectation.

Wouldn’t he act differently based on this label or definition of who he was before the coma?  You bet he would!  If he was told he was a Seal, he would carry himself as a Seal, or at least his perception of how a Seal would act.  The definition he was given of who he was would set an expectation as far as behavior, and he would carry himself based on this expectation.

This is true for all of us.

We define and label ourselves all the time.  How do you define yourself?

An incredible exercise to increase personal happiness is to write out a sentence or two about who you are.  The definition of you.  If you want to go even further, I recommend writing a complete mission statement for your life.

For now, just write a sentence or two as a definition of who you are.  Define yourself as if you already are the person you want to be.

Just by doing so you will start to act in a way that is consistent with that definition.

To maintain this momentum, read this definition of yourself every day.

If you define yourself as a person that spreads joy to everyone you meet, and you read that every morning, it becomes a little tough to yell at the barista at your local coffee shop for forgetting to use almond milk.  It is difficult to act in a way that is not consistent with your definition, especially if you read it every day.

When writing your definition, don’t use the law of attraction stuff such as I’m a millionaire.  Your definition is based on your values or your behaviors, not your circumstances or external desires.  I’m a loving husband, I’m a happy person, I’m a great mom, I spread joy to others etc.

If you do this exercise, you will find that you start to act in accordance with the way in which you define yourself.  Do this consistently, and over time, you will start to become your best self.

The key to this exercise, and every idea at the positivitygym.com, is that you have to take action.  Knowledge and motivation are nothing without action.

 Make it an awesome day,

Kevin Slagle

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