I'm Ramsey Bergeron of Bergeron Well-Being, thank you for joining me today on Coach's Corner and who do you think you are?! That's the topic of today is "who do you think you are." Many of us define ourselves by our job. I am Ramsey Bergeron, life coach. Ramsey Bergeron, in the past, personal trainer. Ramsey Bergeron actor. But when we really dial it down, who do we really think that we are? This was a question that really kind of started me on my journey to self-discovery.
About three years ago, I had an acting coach and we had an assignment and I'm going to share kind of with you today what it was and he said. I want you to write down on a sheet of paper "this is who I am," and then, in about two paragraphs, write who you are. Once you're done with that... and it's much deeper than "I am Ramsey Bergeron I am a life coach," it's so much deeper than that like who are you adjectives like "I'm a caring individual; I am a loving husband," you know, things like that, Once you're done writing those two paragraphs out, show them to the people that know you the best and without telling them who it is and clearly don't put your name on it, and say "well who do you think this is?" If either they don't know or don't think that it's you, maybe you have some soul searching to do.
We think we have this idea in our head of who we are and the values that we hold true and that we want to embody. But sometimes, we've lost sight of who we really are. One of the problems is labels. If you have your identities like "Hi I'm Ramsey Bergeron, life coach" what if I'm no longer a life coach? Have you ever lost your job and that job was you whenever you introduced yourself like you're hi I'm so-and-so this is what I do? Well, your sense of identity kind of goes away, and because so many of us, especially here in the states, tie our sense of who we are to our jobs. Your life is so much more than that (at least I hope it is) and if not, again, time to do some more soul searching.
Looking at it from the point of impermanence, if anything you use to describe yourself could change as an adjective, is that really who you are? As much as I would love to say I'm a loving husband what if one day I'm not a husband? What if I say the same thing about being a loving parent or loving son? We have to remember that labels that we put on ourselves aren't permanent. We have to remember that there's impermanence going on and a lot of who you think you stems from when you were a kid.
Let me show you... actually, I'm gonna hold off on that for a second. I grew up in Arkansas, rural Arkansas. I moved there when I was six years old from Geneva Switzerland and before that, the Middle East; my mom is Arabic. So growing up as a half-Arab kid in Arkansas, I was really made to feel pretty terrible. I was called every racist name in the book and that really stuck with me. My sense of who I was was "less than." I was not as good as anyone else. I was a second-class citizen and it really took me a long time to kind of work through that. Still to this day I have some of those chips on my shoulder.
We all the the the version of ourselves that we paint in the world, we don't base on what we think. so here's a quote that I do want to share with you. "I am not what I think I am, and I am not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am." Now I know that sounds like a little bit of a tongue twister, but think about it. We don't live our lives based on who we think we are we base it on what we think other people think we are.
I'll give you an example: I went for a hike, I like to go hiking at 3 a.m. If I tell one of my clients or one of my friends they're like "Why do you want to do that? Well, because I want to. I'm starting to try to live my life more authentically for things that I value and the way that I want to live. How many times do you try to get a consensus of people before you do something? if I went around and polled my friends like "Hey do you think I should go hiking at three in the morning?", or "Do you think I should take my dog and go up and go camping this weekend?" Why am I asking them? They're not going. like it's interesting gossip to them but it's my life. What am I doing that's true to me? So many of us don't live like that. So many of us are so concerned about what other people think and we want to fit the role that we think that we have in their eyes.
Four years ago, I was fortunate enough to be a sponsored spokesperson for a national nutrition company and I was in 40 million newspapers one Sunday. Do you want to know what I was doing that day? I was playing Dungeons and Dragons and eating like crap with my friends. That's who I am like. I'm a big nerd and that's a part of my personality. Yeah, I like to be fit. I like to work out also. but I spent so much of my life denying the things that I value. The things that I enjoy based on what I thought other people thought that I should be and I still do to this day. it's something that I still have to work on. I'm trying to live more authentically and be the best version of myself.
The reason that we're looking for other people's opinions is that we don't know who we are, so we're basing it on what we think other people think that we should be. We're seeking for that meaning, we're seeking for that thing that gives us our definition of life and we're always looking outside. The ironic thing is that's not where it is. I always come back to meditation because I really feel it's such a crucial way to create that space between stimulus and reaction, instead of just having that lizard brain where something happens I react. Oh, they don't approve of this? I'm going to change my behavior so they do approve of this. instead of being still and think "Is that really who I am and what I want to do?"
If you were to ask a kid who's playing, "Why are you playing?"
"I don't know. it's just it's fun."
That's how you should live your life. What do you want to do? Whether it be it in your job or in your relationship. Who do you want to be with? Who you surround yourself with is just as important. Because you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. You spend your time with smokers, odds are how are you going to smoke. You spend your time with people who meditate, odds are you're going to have a higher value of enlightenment. Do you spend your time with people who get drunk every weekend? Well, you know the rest. So who do you want to be and how do you surround yourself with a circle of people who can help bring out who you are.
Back to an earlier point, I made about looking for things outside of yourself. someone had asked Michelangelo the sculptor "How do you see David in that piece of (I think he did carve David right?) how do you see the statue in that piece of marble? I just look at it I see a rock." His answer really really changed the way that I look at things. This is what he said:
"The sculpture is already completed within the marble block before I start my work. It's already there. I just have to chisel away the superfluous material."
Who you are is already inside of you. The best version of you is there. You've just got to get away all that excess crap that's in the way. Dig away what other people think you should be doing. Dig away what your parents decide whatever it is whatever they think that you should be doing. That's not you! Get rid of it. Listen to who you are. You are that sculpture that's inside the block of marble that is who you're pretending to be. Just peel back the layers and find it. Because you have to ask yourself "are you congruent with who you want to be like?" Whenever you did that earlier experiment of "this is who I am," and you wrote the things down, and you handed it to other people, if you didn't like (and again we're not living for them but just seeing the reflection) are we the reflection of who we think we are in the world. If not, how are you going to change that? How are you going to be the person that you were meant to be?
So if I were to give you one piece of advice on what to do, be unapologetically you. Stop being the fake person that the world wants you to be. you know, I used to spend so much of my time being the zany outgoing crazy guy. which I still enjoy having a sense of humor, but so much of it was overcompensating for the insecure kid that I really still am. so whenever you're more authentic, and you find who you are, and you just unapologetically you. Life is so much more peaceful. because you're not constantly walking on eggshells about like "oh my gosh, are they going to judge me? What are they going to think?"
Because if they do judge you, that's more of a reflection of them than it is of you. Yeah, I still play dungeons and dragons every other Sunday with my friends. I love it. They live across the country we play online it brings me so much joy. I enjoy using my imagination. Yeah, I like to work out. am I a couple of pounds heavier than I would like to be? Maybe. But I'm okay with that. because I'm accepting who I am. I will never be perfect. All I will be is Ramsey. And it will take my whole life to maybe find out who that is and that's okay. Because it's not anyone else's definition of who I am. It's who I am. so if you found any of this valuable please let me know. make sure you subscribe to this on Facebook or on youtube and thank you so much for watching and hopefully I'll see you next week.