A common human foible is the notion that “who we are” is a fixed quality. Who we’ve been is who we are is who we will always be. We think and feel this way even though it’s patently obvious that this cannot be a true statement!
Our environment, experiences and relationships shape us moment by moment. You are not the same person you were ten years ago, a year ago or even six months ago. What makes you think that you will be the same person ten years from now, a year from now or six months from NOW?
Who we are is a fluid, dynamic quality. As we learn from our experiences, we are changed and shaped by them.
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
~ Maya Angelou
It’s important to understand that there is no judgement in realizing you have changed. The previous versions of yourself were not “wrong.” Have compassion for your previous self, accept that you did the best you could with what you knew and who you were. Also have compassion and appreciation for your present self in the same way.
Looking forward, accept that who you will be is not who you are now, nor will it be a copy of who you were.
Being is flowing and growing. This is a natural process which we have the power to direct. Our present choices contribute to shaping who we will become.
Most people are familiar with the word introspection, “the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes.” I recently came across the invented word, prospection. Dr. Benjamin Hardy created this word to describe the forward-looking version of the introspective experience. Essentially, prospection is “the examination or observation of one’s hopes and desires for our future state of being.”
Prospection can only be successful when we discard the notion that the future of our being will be more of the current version of how we are right now. Once we release that flawed belief, we become free to visualize any future, knowing that the future version of ourselves will not be driven or motivated by our current selves, but rather, by the future version of ourselves, shaped by experiences, environments and relationships it may be impossible to imagine from where we stand in this moment.
It’s not a simple task. Our bias to imagine our future selves as “more of the same” makes it challenging to accept that our future self is completely “up for grabs.” If we can find a way to let go of our assumptions about who we are and who we CAN be, the possibilities are open-ended and quite exciting.
Who would you be, if you could be anybody?
(If you say Kim Kardashian, I WILL slap you!)