How Do You Define YOU?

In the daily judgements we pass on ourselves and others, what is it we believe we are defining? I examine why we sometime mistake who we really are – for events from our past!

The Criminal

“Oh, that Sandy and her son, yeah, you know the one – the criminal, he’s in prison!”

…is this person, this individual – a criminal? Does this ‘label’ define him… or, did he commit a criminal act and he might well be defined a criminal – at that time?

Label prisoners as such, rather than a person, an individual will strengthen the belief he is and always will be worthless and outside of society; thus, reducing the possibility of rehabilitation because it ‘defines’ an act – an event – rather than the person.

If we want someone to respect rules and be respectful, we are going to want to rejoin society as a person, rather than reinforcing an identity that once may have been true – in that moment.

The Rape Victim

“ Sally, you know – the rape victim”

Terrible though the suffering of such horror and cruelty is, does this view and statement serve us? Empowering the horror further and forever, doubling up on the pain? This will define who we were!

“I was raped – I am a victim to that event and person and this will always be so.” I am Sally, I have always been Sally. However, there was an awful time in my life when I was raped – but I AM still Sally, rather than a rape victim forever.


“My son/daughter/mother/father/lover/spouse died – I will never get though the pain of the loss.”

Do we choose to honour the death of someone so dear to us as a choice to define ‘us’ and the rest of our existence as a sufferer, a victim of life and its circumstances? …or do we choose to grieve and adjust… then celebrate the life and privilege it was to have known that person while they were ‘here’?

Creating the Falsehood

These few examples can illustrate a couple of points but those defining judgements are occurring all the time with much less potent events; these will create the falsehood of who we think we are… or someone is.

One of the measures I employ for my clients when appropriate – is to ask them to look in the mirror; really look into your OWN eyes! It can be so powerful, and awakening. Similarly, if I ask to ‘introduce’ you – to ‘you’, then observe how challenging that can be because we have elected to define ourselves by our experiences and past events.

The Brick Wall

Life can be looked at as if ours was a big brick wall. The majority of the wall is strong, uniform and good, but here and there a slightly discoloured brick might be found, another may be a little out of line.

Can we then say that this brick wall, serving its purpose, so strong and true… is less than and is rubbish – unworthy?No, of course the bricks outside of uniformity simply add a uniqueness to the structure. They too were part of the process in creating a strong and purposeful structure…

Could it be that if you were to ‘meet’ you today, without knowledge of all the pain and any wrongdoing or mistakes, you might really like what you saw?

Defining ourselves, and others, based on our lives to date can be hugely unhelpful. Living with you today, you can learn to let go of the past and grant yourself permission to recognise you for who you are in this moment – in the only place you really ever can be, here, in the present moment. The rest… is in the mind, no longer a reality or true today.

About the author
Managing Director / Counsellor at Anglia Counselling Ltd | 07747042899 | [email protected] | Business Website

Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.

Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).