Who do you want to be? What's your identity? Who are you?!

You know sometimes, when you realise you've been identifying with something ... and realise you don't have to? That you can change that belief. And that it doesn't define you.

That's how I was with smoking ... I smoked 20+ cigarettes a day from 16 years old until 38. And when I stopped I was worried about WHO I WOULD BE.

It sounds insane, but my identity was as a smoker. I wondered who I would be as a non-smoker.

The answer of course, was me ... the same as I was as a smoker during all the time I didn't smoke. If that makes sense.

It really made me think though - I'm glad I realised it but it felt stupid and I wondered why I wanted that identity, why I was actually worried about who I would be without it.

That was 9 years ago now.

Last year when I decided to lose weight I thought I'd like to get back to a (UK) size 14.

It felt like an achievable goal, and it felt like a size where I would feel 'normal'.

I also identified that it was a size I'd been happy at as an adult and had been kind of default size for me - I loved getting smaller and hated getting bigger but 14 felt 'enough'.

Well, then I became a 12 and THEN decided to reach for more, be braver, bolder, go for what I really want - and hadn't been, hadn't lived in my body at a small size as an adult.

But why should that mean I couldn't? Why shouldn't I choose the big goal?

Why not say it, go for it, commit to it? Just because you haven't done it before, doesn't mean your life has to be lived in where you've been comfortable before.

And ... I've never been very fit, well, since a child/teenager who loved sports and running and ballet.

Not part of my identity.

Not until now. I've been softer, curvier, warmer ... as a child I was lanky, free, needed movement.

So I'm now making that my identity too.

I am going to become the fittest I've ever been in my life.

This is BRAND NEW!

Fit and strong and lean (and still soft).

I don't know why I've been scared of saying it, wanting it, doing it.

But now I do.

We can choose our identities, shrug off those that no longer serve, that in fact hold us back.

What do you really want?

Who do you want to be?


The little dog with big self esteem

You can see by the way he stands that this is a little dog with a lot of confidence.

Sure of himself, happy, secure.

That stance, full of pride and contentment, almost looking like he's surveying his empire.

That tail, upright and sure. He's interested and alert and eager - and he rarely doubts himself.

In fact, he usually believes he can do anything.

In the very best way, he feels he is entitled to good things, for things to go well, to be loved for being him and even to get to sleep in a huge bed (well, sometimes!).

Rachel Redlaw Rocco
Rachel Redlaw Rocco

And I think that's partly his character, partly the traits of his breed and partly the way I talk to him. 

Every day he hears how great he is, how clever, how funny.

Every day, many, many times a day he hears things like, 'YOUR'RE THE BEST!' and 'I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!'.

So much positive reinforcement, positive messages for the whole 8 years of his life. 

And I do think it's got a lot to do with it.

Which every now and then gets me thinking that this is not the way a lot of us speak to ourselves.

Language is so important, and the way we talk to ourselves has such an impact.

Many of us talk to ourselves in a way would NEVER talk to anyone else - we can be harsh and judgemental.

Our inner voices often tell us that we're not great or clever or funny. 

We tell ourselves we should do more, could do more, aren't doing enough and what we're doing isn't good enough.

We can be very harsh on ourselves and yes, just sometimes, it might be useful and the push we need.

But often I think we could do with giving ourselves a bit more praise and love.

I think if we told ourselves several times a day, 'YOU'RE THE BEST!', 'YOU'RE SO GOOD AT WHAT YOU DO!', 'I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!' etc etc, it would have a big effect.

No more, 'mm I'm not sure that's good enough'.

A lot more, 'that's fantastic, press publish!' would go a long way.

Even just as we go about our daily lives, an inner voice could be encouraging us, bolstering our confidence and courage and growing our ability to create, share, grow and help.

To be the people we were meant to be, want to be.