The Definition of Self

Every now and then, I have a bizarre need to read about CMP (Chondromalacia patella; my knee condition). I’ve read everything out there on CMP and yet sometimes, I must re-read those same articles and study those same medical journals. But after the first few interesting paragraphs, it just gets depressing reading about the eventual deterioration of my cartilage.

There was a time in my life when none of this existed and I was defined by fitness and my burgeoning fitness career. Now, I feel more defined my knees. It’s made me realize how incredibly easy it is to let an external *something* (insert whatever that is for you!) define who you are.

Definitions of self emerge from our personal experiences, our relationships with others, through medical conditions, through our values, our backgrounds and through someone else’s opinion of us or what they think we should be (THINK: a parent’s expectations!). 

So how do we turn off these messages and tune in to our real self? And how do we not let an external *something* define us?

In my case, CMP doesn’t define me anymore than fitness/teaching does – they are both just experiences in my life. When I was teaching fitness classes, fitness was the center of my life. When I had to stop teaching, I felt like a part of me died. I realize now that I felt that way only because I let myself believe in a certain image of myself – an image I constructed from my own thoughts and beliefs. So what does it all mean?

It means that you can choose how to define yourself. So, the next time you find you can’t separate yourself from your *something*, step back and say: “I choose how I define myself and not by *INSERT HERE!*. My real essence is within, not without.”  Its sounds corny, but it’s a good way to remind yourself that you are in charge. 

Here’s a great excert from an article in OptiMYz from the wonderful Joseph Seiler:

“The esteem of self is built brick by brick, phrase by phrase. Self talk is the fuel that feeds my self image.” 

In Sum: You are whatever you tell yourself you are!


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