The Power of Identity
The plan was a simple one.
We (meaning my nine-year old niece and me) had just arrived at the mall and planned to take a detour through Neiman Marcus.
First, we would briefly peruse its handbag department before moving on to other (read: cheaper) stores to shop.
And second, to help the experience be a teachable moment in thinking abundantly, as well as make it a fun adventure for a young fashion maven, there were a few ground rules:
Loud, shocked gasps when looking at the handbag price tags were not allowed. Jaw dropping or gawking weren’t welcome either.
Above all, the phrase, “I can’t afford _____” was to be replaced immediately with “I choose not to spend my money on this right now.”
Only the lesson plan—or adventure—didn’t play out as expected.
Instead, just as we approached the store, a man exited the building. As he did so, he stopped to hold the door open for us. Yet rather than walk through the doorway, my niece hesitated.
Glancing quickly up at the man, she then turned to me and stated loudly, “Wow, rich people are really polite!”
And there it was…the real lesson for the day.
I learned not only did my niece see herself as poor, but apparently (as I would realize later on that day) I viewed myself the exact same way! This despite the fact that I was a professional in my late-twenties making a great salary at the time.
It was an unexpectedly, powerful lesson on the role identity–especially one formed during our early years–plays in our lives! That being, it not only shapes and defines our life experiences, but influences our choices, actions and responses to life situations too.
In addition, it’s difficult to rise any higher than the image we hold of ourselves. We may try, and sometimes we may succeed, but the risk of self-sabotage runs high.
So, what then, is the solution?
How do you move beyond a limiting self-perception formed by past experiences (yet which may still feel true) into a more abundant one?
First, you simply become aware of your identity. Not the face you show the world, but how you really feel about yourself on the inside. Without this awareness, there can be no shift.
Second, you begin to understand that poverty and wealth are not two separate things. They are the manifestation of one thing—the creative force within you–rightly or wrongly used within your mind.
Thus, if you see yourself as poor in anyway, it’s because you don’t understand wealth’s source of origin–or that manifestation is the process of bringing your inner world into your outer one.
In this way, it’s only by becoming aware of and then aligning with your real identity that you make “being rich” an actual, tangible experience…both inside and out.