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Lesson 3e: I Am

Objective: Uncover how you see yourself and find out who you are

When someone asks who you are, how do you answer them? 

Exercise: Take a few minutes and think about how you would finish the phrase "I am ...".

How many of your answers are labels?  For example, "I am ... an accountant, teacher, Caucasian, Hispanic, mother, young, old, etc."  This is typical.  The first question usually asked at a party is "What do you do?"  Many of us define ourselves by our work or our physical characteristics.

Who are you beyond your work and your physical features?  For example, "I am...kind, compassionate, caring, etc."  Look at your original list and see how many of these attributes you used to describe yourself.  In addition, how many of these attributes are positive and how many are negative?


  • Pick 5 people that you admire and list the traits that you like about them.
  • Order the traits from most important to least important.
  • On a scale from 1 to 5, rate how well you meet these characteristics (1 - "not like me at all" vs 5 - "exactly like me")

How well did you rate?  If not well, that is an indicator that you need to work on increasing your self-worth.  You are able to see qualities in those that you admire, more than you are able to see the same qualities in yourself.  We are our own worst critic.  We would rather beat ourselves up and say that we are not good enough than to take a risk and compliment ourselves.

There is a saying that what you see in others, you also have in yourself.  In your list, you may have seen qualities such as heroic, compassionate, generous, among other great qualities in others.  However, everyone of us also has these same abilities in ourselves.  We just do not recognize and honor it for one of two reasons.  One, we concentrate on other things first like day-to-day living (working, taking care of the children, etc.).  If so, your energy just needs to focus on what you really want in life.  Focus on who you really want to be and the rest will fall into place.  When you live your life from your intentions (e.g., to be kind, to be caring), then that is what you will get.  Second, we tend to minimize ourselves - "Well, I may be generous but not as generous as Mother Teresa."  When we do this, we tend to give less of ourselves because we don't feel what we give will be good enough.  The size of the gift does not matter.  The giving is the gift.  See yourself from the gifts that you give the world, not from the size of the gift.  Once you focus on giving the gift, you will find that you have more to give.

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