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Outside of “I Am”

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I think therefore I am. – René Descartes

Header Photo by Eutah Mizushima on Unsplash

If you had to write 20 descriptives about yourself starting with the phrase “I am…” what would those sentences look like? Would it be mostly positive? Mostly negative? 

Would you be comfortable enough with yourself to even do the exercise? 

 

I am…

We have genetic traits we are born with. Our genes shape who we are physically. They can also shape the foundation of our personality and emotions.

Before a baby can speak and interact successfully with the world you can still get an idea of what kind of little person they will be. Some babies are naturally outgoing, some introverted. Some are quiet, some are loud. Some are natural performers, some are natural tinkerers.

These attributes are the very first I am’s about these little humans. The very first details that set them a bit apart from other people on the planet.

But then these little minds start to pick up on the way the older people interact with their environment. They hear the words said, see the body language and emotions created, and those little brains absorb what they see.

In other words, they start to adopt the I am’s of the world around them.

 

The web of I am

“I am” is a phrase of the ego. The way I conceptualize the ego is to think of it as the skin of my thoughts. Just like the skin of your body creates a barrier from the outside world physically, the skin of your thinking, or the ego, creates a mental barrier.

Contained within this skin are all the I am’s. Each and every I am creates a facet of who you believe you are. And you can have conflicting I am’s. For example:

  • I am strong.
  • I am weak.

You can believe both things in different areas of your life. Or both can be applied to the same thing at different points in time. All these I am’s bound us up into a conformed way of being.

Without this binding and structure, there would not be the physical world that we know, and there would not be the vast variation of personalities on this planet.

 

Suffering in conformity

There is a benefit to I am’s, but there is also a dark side. Identifying too strongly with these “I am” statements of the mind can create quite a bit of emotional suffering.

When we buy into our I am’s hook, line, and sinker, we become seemingly rigid and fixed. We may consider ourselves broken in aspects of our lives, bound for suffering because “that’s just the way I am”.

And while yes, part of the human experience is suffering, if we are able to detach ourselves from the most constricting of our I am’s, we can start to create movement where we thought there was none. 

You are not fixed. Your brain is not fixed. There is what happens on the physical plain of life, but there is also what happens on the mental plain, which ties into the spiritual. That is the stuff outside of I am, and it takes courage to tap into it.

 

Breaking out of I am

So how do you detach from I am? By not believing your I am statements.

It truly is as simple as that, but here’s what happens when we try to do that: the brain freaks out.

Your brain is all about organizing information so it makes sense. When you question the organization your brain has created about yourself and the world around you, it gets mentally and emotionally uncomfortable. 

This is why people choose to hold onto beliefs even when they seemingly fly in the face of facts.

To have our own personal truths cast into doubt is super unsettling for a brain. And to have our very own identifying I am’s challenged starts to poke holes in the protective ego.

If this can be so uncomfortable, why even do it? To change. It’s that simple. If you want to change who you are in any area of your life, you have to let go of the old I am’s, and create new ones. And then you have to do the uncomfortable work of believing them.

I am someone who can help you do that.

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