Moving from “I” to “I am”

In our eBook, 7 Keys to God-centric Mental Health, Thom Harrison, wrote: “When you are just getting by, you see yourself through your own lens:

I, I, I…
me, me, me

“Within the ‘I’ mindset, the ego is in control. It is in this mentality that we perpetuate damaging reflections that leave us unchanged.”1

We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.” 

—Anaïs Nin, American novelist 

Seeing Me Through My Own Lens

Michael F. Kay, in Psychology Today, explains this with a comparison to us taking a snapshot with minds and eye focused, but where more ends up in a picture than we first noticed; like this group shot with an unexpected photobomb. With a strong focus on what we want to see, we miss other things in the picture.

He explains that sometimes after really looking a the final picture you’ll find more than you ever “saw when it first came into focus through your lens, and something you never intended becomes the focal point. You know you’ve seen examples of these — someone unintentionally photobombing a posed scene; an interesting shadow in the background, or a misaligned hand that seemingly comes out of nowhere.”2

Often our minds work this same way, and the fact is that we often see the world through our narrow lens and miss the complete truth. “Our brain has fixed our lenses only to pick up the familiar and the comfortable,” Kay explained, “in other words, we see things as black or white.” We see what we were looking for, missing the full picture.

Because of this, Harrison explains, in the “I” perspective, we see our self in a muddled way. “You may be pulled into narcissistic tendencies—with pride so glaring that reality seems beneath you. You might be brought so low with feelings of self-pity and worthlessness you have accepted this blurred life as your new reality.”

“’I’ living is based in the worldly ails of life. It blinds us to the possibilities of God-centered peace and purpose. ‘I’ living reinforces pride, appetites, the philosophies, praises, honors of men, and a feeling of never being satisfied or content.”

“I” mindsets are narrowly focused and very limiting, but Mike Bundrant, Co-Founder of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), says, you can “change the way you see the things that trigger your undesirable reactions. Adopt a new view of the world, then respond naturally. This helps you avoid self-limiting behaviors and habits. It stops the knee-jerk reactions before they even begin.”3

Bundrant offers three steps to help you start, and he suggests, “You might find that writing these down as a journal exercise is more effective than simply thinking about it: 

  • Identify and name an unpleasant reaction you’re having. This could be jealousyangerfear, sadness, and so on. 
  • Identify the way you perceive the associated stimulus. For example, ‘I’m seeing my co-worker as an intentional jerk, through and through.’ With the emphasis is on how you see the stimulus, do your responses make sense? 
  • Identify a new way you’d like to perceive the stimulus. What would happen if you saw things this way? As an example applied to the jerky co-worker: ‘People are rude to others because they’re feeling hurt or insecure themselves.'”4

Indeed, this does not mean you should excuse behaviors you do not like. Nor is there any reason to feel unsafe nor accept unjust situations. But Bundrant says, “It merely means that you do not have to take things personally.” He says to put on new lenses and look at things differently. When you do, he promises, “you can start to negotiate the world with more poise, proactivity, and self-support. You’ll begin to act instead of reacting. Your beliefs can help you rather than hold you back.”5

“Ironically, once we realize the stuff of which we are made, we have no choice but to live a spiritual life.”

—Caroline Myss in The Anatomy of the Spirit 

Seeing Me as I Am

In 7 Keys to God-centric Mental Health, Harrison, wrote: “In contrast, moving from “I” to “I am” is leaving the ego behind to find your better or best self… your EternalCore. It is looking at yourself through God’s eyes. It is the part of divinity hard-wired into each of us. In discovering the truth of your EternalCore, you are exploring that which makes you divine.”

To better understand this idea, Jessica Cooper helps us with the concept of ego, writing: “Ego is the feeling of a separate ‘I,’ which we call ego-consciousness. It’s directly related to the strength of ignorance, greed, and hatred. The deepest meaning of ignorance is the belief in and clinging to the ego, …but because of this strong attachment to ego-consciousness, desire, anger, and hatred arise.”6

Harrison explains that you will “find lasting healing as you choose to push aside your ‘I’ perspective to God’s ‘I am’ view of you. God did not intend for you to remain stagnant. In the ‘I am,’ you shift your focus as you begin to see yourself outside of the ‘I.’”†

But how to get there is the question. Harrison says that first, you need “to understand and find yourself through the perspective of those around you. In this shift, you are given a new lens. Your focus moves from self—to others—to God.”

In the Huff Post, Fani Stipkovic, suggests five ways to help drop your ego:

  •  Practice forgiveness and letting go—”learn to forgive the people who hurt us,” she recommends, and most important, “learn to forgive ourselves …Forgiveness will open the windows to your soul, and remove the negativity to allow room for new happiness.”
  • Practice honesty and being open—”Honesty provides us unconditional freedom to be connected with ourselves instead of trying to be something that we’re not. Learn to say no to the things that don’t add value in you’re life, and open your arms and run towards the things that do.”
  • Surrender your need for control— she notes us that we are neither our egos nor our jobs; we are not what we achieve or what we have. “Once you let your ego control your life, you will never be happy or relaxed because as soon as you lose one of the things that you identify with, the rest will fall like dominos and you will lose your happiness.” She advises takings risks, being curious, and exploring what life has to offer.
  • Enjoy silent moments with yourself—she stresses quiet time, which is key to finding your EternalCore and connection to God. “Create an everyday routine to remind yourself why it’s beautiful to be you. To know that you are enough.” She also insists that we doing something selfless without expecting anything in return daily.
  •  Practice gratitude—during those moments of silence, acknowledge “all the people, experiences, lessons and mistakes you are thankful for. Grateful people feel more love and compassion and feel more alive than those who don’t.” Letting God know that you “appreciate everything and everyone” will help you “discover true beauty in your life.”7

Stipkovic and Harrison agree that as “You drop the expectations that life is supposed to be a certain way. You break the barrier of the ‘I’ as you come to see yourself as God sees you.†

“You are not the ‘I’ that the world restricts you to be. When you move to the ‘I am’ perspective, you welcome new possibilities and begin to rise above the self. ‘I’-focused living closes your eyes to all that life truly has to offer.†

Harrison ends with this challenge: “Open your eyes and see past yourself. Discover your internal and eternal sense of self and the truth of who you are. As you move to the ‘I am,’ you open yourself up so God can heal you.

“Now you are ready to learn the true power of your brain,” he concludes.

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SOURCES

1 Thom Harrison, 7 Keys to God-centric Mental Health, (all quotes from Harrison are taken from this source).
2 Michael F. Kay, “Seeing the World Through Your Lens—What you believe becomes your reality,” Psychology Today, Sep 18, 2012
3 Mike Bundrant, “What Lens Do You Choose?—Choose new imaginary glasses and change your life,” Psychology Today, Aug 10, 2018
4 ibid
5 ibid
6 Jessica Cooper, “Leave Ego Behind And Find More Meaning in Life,” mindbodygreen
7 Fani Stipkovic, “How to Drop Your Ego With 5 Techniques,” THE BLOG  Feb 18, 2016, (Updated Dec 06, 2017)

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