Abstract: Answering the question of who am I is the key to personal growth and reaching full potential. Observing what I do is what counts in my personal growth. I am what I do.
Coming out of the library the other day, I saw a man in front of me with a tee-shirt emblazoned with the words, “You are what you do when it counts.” And the first thing that popped into my mind was that it always counts. Everything we do defines who we are. It may not define who we can be, our best qualities, or our highest self, but what we do always defines who we are being at that specific time.
Whether you feel fully or partially self empowered, or are just exploring the self empowerment landscape, this is true: at this instant what you are doing reflects who you are being.
Pretty heavy stuff this; if you’re serious about self improvement, the knowledge that what you are now doing reflects who you are being can take some of the fun out of just hanging around, for hanging around implies a state of being without specific purpose. Now, there’s nothing wrong with just being. In fact, just being present in the moment can offer an opportunity for insight, reflection, and appreciation of your surroundings. But it’s important to be aware that you’re just hanging around at this moment and consciously choose to continue or withdraw. This awareness sharpens consciousness and reinforces self empowerment.
I’m certain the tee-shirt phrase is meant to address how we behave under difficult and stressful conditions. For example, I’m writing this just after the Gulf states of the US were hit hard by the category 4 hurricane, Katrina, which caused widespread destruction and loss of life. In the terrible aftermath of Katrina, we saw a full range of human behavior. Some rose to heroic heights, rescuing other survivors though they, too, had lost much. Others behaved much differently, using the opportunity for lawless and harmful behavior. Though perhaps not consciously, people chose who to be and demonstrated their choices by their behavior.
It is true that what we do under stressful conditions shows much about the strength of our convictions of who we are. I can be generous and be giving when I have plenty. Can I still be generous and giving when nearly all I have is lost? I can if my conviction is strong.
If you want a good dose of reality sometime, try this: At both lunch and dinner time, take a few moments to reflect on what you did during the past four hours. Observe not only what you did, but who you were being that sponsored what you did.
For example, let’s say I became angry at a co-worker this morning. I might be tempted in my lunch-time reflection to describe the argument as something she caused. As the old saying goes, it takes two to tangle, so a healthy reflection on this event would acknowledge that I must have had some part in the argument.
Was I being defensive, grumpy, jealous, petty, or patronizing? Who was I being just before and during the argument? What might have caused my anger? Was it fear, which is generally a sponsor of anger? Does her work threaten me in some way? I must be open to all possibilities to truly benefit from this reflection.
If you actually reflect as I’ve suggested and done so with an open mind, I think you’ll be surprised to realize the wide range of behaviors you exhibit in just a four hour period. And a wide range of behaviors means your states of being ranged widely, too. How much of the time were your behaviors reflecting the person that you really choose to be? How often were you at your best?
In writing this article I began thinking about the percentage of time that my behaviors align with my view of who I choose to be. I asked myself if I more often than not act as my highest self. If I’m making progress toward living my true purpose in life, which is being my highest self, the best that I can be, my behaviors should be largely those that reflect me at my very best. I should be doing highest self-things more often than not.
I have been on a spiritual, self-empowerment growth path for several years now. Yet I’m dismayed that what I sometimes do is inconsistent with who I believe I am. Sometimes I act in ways that stem less from my highest self and more from my selfish, inconsiderate, non-aware self. Perhaps I will begin to keep a “who am I being” log, a brief diary of my states of being to sharpen my awareness and consciousness. Perhaps you will want to do the same.
I must remember that I am what I do all the time – it always counts.