By: Kathy Shalhoub

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Since last week’s post, I’ve been thinking a lot about our identity and why it’s so important for us to put words to who we are. See the thing is that our brain likes to put things into categories for us because it makes it easier for us to understand the world. For some reason we get very uncomfortable when we come across something that we can’t put into a category. We even have a category for that: Uncategorized, Miscellaneous, To do, Undefined, To Be Determined, etc…

In any case, ultimately, we are born with a certain personality that is ours alone (I can attest to that after seeing the radical difference in temperament and behavior in my two children!), and this psychology of ours is influenced by our social and cultural surroundings that help create our beliefs. And the combination of this all and how we react to it, is what ultimately help us define our goals and objectives for ourselves. We all should have them! I agree with Nietzsche when he said: He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

So I decided that to define ourselves to other people in a meaningful way, we have to tell them a little bit about our mind, a little bit about our emotions or behavior, what it is we believe strongly in, and what we aim for in life. I think it’s as simple as that!

Mind + emotions/behavior + beliefs + goals = Me

So in my case, the strongest component of each category defines me to me:

I am an inquisitive (mind) enthusiastic (emotions) student of life (goal) who believes that nothing is impossible (beliefs).

But WHY is it so important to understand who we are? Is it only to tell people about ourselves?

Nope! It’s much more than that. It’s to be able to value ourselves. You can’t put a value to what you don’t know, right? You can’t tell me how many dollars a bunch of bananas will cost unless you know the quantity AND the quality!

A psychologist named Branden, said that self-esteem is the reputation we have with ourselves and unfortunately, there is no significant aspect of our thinking, motivation, feelings, or behavior that is not affected by our self-evaluation. It’s as simple as that.

Ok now make sure you do this on a good day. A day you’re feeling great about yourself, a day you’re feeling happy. The last thing you want to do is come up with a phrase about yourself when you’re feeling down and your boss just told you that the idea you pitched was worthless, you’ve been depressed all day, you’ve just yelled at your kids or kicked a puppy and the only thing you’re good at is wolfing down a couple pounds of brownies. Otherwise your intro to your self will be something along the lines of this:

Hi, I’m a boring, self-pitying, tub of lard who believes in abusing the helpless. Not good!

So ultimately what it comes down to is this: knowing yourself better, allows you to better articulate yourself and sell yourself. Putting useful words that describe you better than simply ‘writer’ or ‘engineer’ will give people (clients!) the feeling that they are closer to you. And if people feel like they know you better, they will trust you faster, and hire you sooner.

Blogger’s Bio: Kathy studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has a PhD in Marine Sciences from the University of Paris. She is also a writer and published her first book, Life as a Leb-neh Lover, in 2010. Kathy is fascinated by matters of the mind, self discovery, self acceptance and personal development and is currently researching these topics. Check out her blog, ‘like’ her on Facebook or follow her on twitter @Lebneh_Lover.

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