Anything that follows the words “I am…” is potentially very limiting because I am is both defining and confining. Saying I am declares, to yourself as well as others, your identity. When you hear yourself say, “I am something” often enough, you internalize that condition. You think of and act in accord with how you’ve defined yourself.
You are not your job. Your livelihood shouldn’t define your personhood. Here are some better ways to describe how you make your living without tying your identity to your paycheck: I work as… ; My job is… ; I earn my living by…; I work for … ; I run / manage / work in a company that…
What’s key in all these examples is the very important shift in your language from I am — which equates with your identity, to I do — which describes an activity, and doesn’t necessarily define you.
By making this subtle but very powerful shift in your language, you open up tremendous opportunities in how you think of yourself — and the permission you give yourself to think, feel and act beyond your professional designation.
Just as following the words, I am with a professional description is unnecessarily limiting, using I am before describing your emotional state also confines you. When you say, “I am angry,” you are in essence equating your state of being with one emotion. Saying, “I am frustrated / angry / upset” restricts you. Your self-description converts all the multi-faceted complexity of you and reduces it to one narrow, highly limited description.
Rather than reducing the whole of yourself to one emotion, open up your perspective with a slight but important shift in language. Don’t say, “I am furious!” Say, instead, “I am feeling frustrated with this situation.” Or, “Right now, I am feeling…” Or, “I am experiencing [whatever emotion you feel].”
This allows you to acknowledge and express your feelings, but you retain your sovereignty over your emotions. You experience them but are not defined by them.
-- By Don Blohowiak