Every Monday, I’ll post about discovering genuine hope and authentic answers for living a healthy life.

What’s important to understand about identity? One of the most important things is that identity controls behavior. Who we think we are is who we will be. Therefore, how we define ourselves is critically important.

How do you answer the identity question of “Who am I?”

  • I’m spending this week with wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m privileged to do so! One of my goals is to help them find and embrace new identities. They can’t always think of themselves as wounded or they may never achieve what they’re capable of. Although they may have wanted to stay in the military until retirement, they’ll have to move on from “warrior” if they don’t want to live frustrated the rest of their lives.
  • A common problem I see are women who call themselves “fat.” This is a bully, playground word that we don’t like other people to use when referring to us. Why would we want to use it on ourselves? It’s demeaning, negative, and damaging. Also, because identity controls behavior, we’ll most likely continue to make unhealthy food choices, overeat, and not exercise when thinking of ourselves as fat. Rather, we can claim identities such as overweight, out-of-shape, needing to gain strength and flexibility, wanting to lose weight, and someone who is making healthier food choices. These redefinitions can motivate new behavior. These new behaviors will solidify our new identity.
  • Since tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, it’s worth asking this identity question: Am I loved, alone, or lonely? Think about it. Just because I may be alone a lot, does not mean I’m lonely. Just because I’m single does not mean I am not loved. If I am lonely, I can choose to do something about it so my identity changes. That won’t happen just complaining about it. Make sense?
  • I actually think this is a more important identity question because it is other centered: Am I loving?

Is this all food for thought? How do you define yourself? Are the answers to your “Who am I?” question accurate and healthy? Any changes you’d like to make? Don’t wait. Claim a new identity, make sure your behaviors line up, and you’ll be able to more fully embrace the identity.