Episode 14: BEING who "I am ____"

Sep 23, 2022

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Hello, siblings. Welcome to the sensory siblings podcast. I'm your host, Louisa Shaeri. And this is beaming to you from The SOLA System, the liberatory framework and unmasking unschool for creatively identified autistic folks who were seeking another way to see no and be yourself. This is a radical reimagining of what's possible when we redefine ourselves from within, by unlearning, who we are not making self connection, our goal, activating the languages of our sensory oriented perception, and creating the culture shifts to activate features and cells. It all starts within.

Hey, siblings. Alright, today, I want to get into more of this concept of who are you being? So the being of being yourself? One of the questions that I had for decades was, how to be myself, right? And who even was that self? And this question was partly answered, when I met this group of autistic kids, well, young teenagers who came to a workshop I was delivering, and they were being supported by their teachers to be all of who they were, they were being themselves in their fullest expression. And I saw myself in them. And that then kick started this whole self inquiry, and etc, etc. But there is something that, you know, that can happen after realising, oh, this, this thing called Autism, this being autistic, maybe that applies to me, there is something that can happen after that realisation, which can be that not much changes, right, that nothing changes or not enough changes, where you're like, Oh, I had this big revelation. And I'm trying to tell people, and I'm trying to figure out now, how to live my life being myself. And yet nothing, everything seems kind of the same or not enough has changed. I don't know how to change it and how to be myself.

And I want to offer that the reason that is, is because who you are, then being is still the same person who spent decades without this key bit of insight, right? Without this key bit of context, on all of your experiences. Because who you are being is the result of how you habitually respond to your life, right. So we have specific emotional responses, thoughts, and things that we do in response to our life. And then those become patterns, they become automated. Because that's just the most energy efficient way of living, the brain tries to expend the least amount of energy by keeping things the same familiar, predictable, running the same neural pathways, making the same conclusions unless there's something dramatically different, that doesn't fit our schema and model of reality of self of life of what we can expect, and so on. So even when it's harmful, or not your real self are not in your best interest or not reflective of your actual truth, you will still have these habits, right? So even if you get this new bit of information, and maybe you go through that reframing of your memories, and processing the emotion that comes with that, and you have more permission, right, you've got an understanding like, oh, okay, this is just who I am. It's, I'm not wrong, et cetera, those habits, those habitual ways of responding, those habitual ways of thinking and interpreting, your experiences are still going to be there. Because they're automated, they are just running in the background.

And habit changes really hard. First of all, you have to be able to see that it's a habit, right. So changing a habit is 90% awareness. It's just lots and lots of non judgmental observation until you can start to interrupt it. So ah, this is how I'm showing up. This is how I'm thinking. These are the kinks

Asians I keep making this is my habitual response, this is how I'm being.

And starting to just become aware of it and doing it from a place of non non judgement, which in itself can be hard, right? I'm trying to change, but I'm also trying to not judge, the fact that I'm not changing and that this is how I'm being.

But 90% of it is awareness. So we just want to increase increase awareness. And that means that eventually, you can consciously step in and use your prefrontal cortex to interrupt that pattern, and direct yourself into new thoughts, new interpretations, new responses, new actions.

And of course, because it's not, it's going against a habit. At first, that's going to feel odd, it's going to be strange, it's gonna feel risky, it might have to be something you have to keep doing. No, I want to do this instead. And it's going to feel not part of the plan for the oldest part of your brain. And the way that that part of your brain likes to ensure that you survive, so you have to expend a lot of energy, initially for keep for that interruption to keep interrupting the habit and create and carve out new ones. And then to experience also, what happens next, because what happens next is going to be new, because you're doing something new. And therefore you're gonna get a different result.

So changing who you are being into one that more accurately reflects who you are deep down who you feel deep down in yourself to be your potential, right, your truth, your nature, your authentic self, or your best self, however you want to say it.

So that's what's involved, right, but habit changes really hard. So I want to offer up a shortcut. Okay, and there's no real shortcuts and self growth, this isn't easier.

But it is simpler. And it's a way to think about it, that I have found helpful. And it's also more fun in the end. And that shortcut is a sentence and it's in fact, it's not a whole sentence is just the start of a sentence. And whatever you finish it with, is the change that you create. Okay, so is the habit change, the sentence is, "I am___".

I am however you finish that sentence, is who you're being. Okay. So however you identify and think about and conceptualise yourself, will be who you are being. So if you want to shortcut the habit change of becoming a more accurate and truer version of yourself, and stop being more of who you are, you can use this sentence to intentionally shape that transformation. So I'm going to explain this a bit more. So imagine your brain is like a receiver of instructions. Okay, it doesn't distinguish it doesn't discern it just receives and then tunes your perception to that instruction. So if you have the thought,

I am bad at life, this used to be one of mine, or I'm a hot mess or something like that. Any of your I Am sentences which you have just taken in as something that you identify with, even if it's not a conscious, you know, something that you would consciously describe yourself as, if you have that thought, your brain is using that as a lens through which not only to see yourself and interpret your life and your experiences, but also as an instruction for how you get to respond to your life and it and crucially how you experience other people seeing you and what you assume they see of you and think of you.

So, the I Am sentences and they might not be you know, words they might be sensations they might be ideas, concepts, associations, that sense of self that self concept, that is the lens through which you are then interpreting everything. Okay, your brain will use this lens as a way to filter out your perceptions and shape who you think you are. And then it will present to

Do you all the supporting evidence for it for why you're bad at life, or why you're a hot mess, or whatever the IRM is. And then because you've identified that, with that, you will then filter out any other options for how to see yourself. Any other

ideas are ways of responding,

that don't correspond to that instruction, that is your I am self concept.

So if you want to change their habitual self that you are being

you can use this to your advantage, right, you can start with becoming aware of all of the I am sentences or ideas, or associations that make up your self concept. And then start to rewrite the story of who you are. The end of that I am sentence into sentences, and a self concept that does allow you to be more of who you really are. Okay. So, how to do it, and I want and I can hear what you're wondering, but I am this, this is who I am, I am a hot mess around but it life or I'm bad at relationships, or I'm socially awkward, etcetera, etcetera, right? Wherever your I Am, is, whatever ideas you have about yourself, they're going to feel real. And this is where it gets sticky. When we think a thought over and over again, it starts to generate specific feelings in us right, it starts to create a specific way of responding, an emotional reaction to what's happening.

And again, that becomes habitual. And so you're essentially practising a set of thoughts and feelings over and over again. And that then filters your perceptions. In a way that means that they that you see you perceive only that which conforms to it, you disregard evidence to the contrary. And then the fact that you're feeling this over and over again, it's habitual start to deepen the sensation that this is just reality. This is just truth, this is just, I am this. And really, it's just one optional model of reality of self, out of a million trillion other options for what story you could tell yourself about who you are.

Consider that no amount of thought you could think your whole life and all of those thoughts could never match up to your whole entire being everything that you consist of all of your potential, all of your whole full entirety of selfness, right? You can't actually think self, you can only think about self.

And so those thoughts will always only ever be a version of they will always leave stuff out, they will filter out.

And then when those thoughts, that filter, is then producing an emotional reaction,

you're having an emotion, that emotion is real.

And experiencing those emotions is real isn't dependent on whether that filter that story is accurate or not. It's just depends on whether it's one that you're believing and identifying with, and then acting from, and responding through. Okay? But if you imagine, if you imagine it right now that imagine there's a lemon in your hand, and then you grab a knife and you open the lemon, and then you're squeezing the juice out into a cup, really picture it. Perhaps at some point, your mouth starts to salivate. Okay, you start to get that lemon. I'm about to eat lemon, I'm about to taste lemon. So your body responds to what your brain is showing it even though that lemon is made up and imagined.

Okay, it's the same with films or books or anime or whatever, any, any story that we're invested in a character. We feel it right we experience real emotions, even though it's imaginary. So that's also going on in the story that you have about who you are, about what the world is about what life is like for you about what it will always be like about what you get to experience or get to have about what you're capable of and not often not. Because whatever it is, your brain will also then take that as an instruction and want to plan and

predict for that always be the case, to keep things familiar, to keep you in homeostasis, to try and keep you alive, so that you don't go wandering off

outside of the cave, and then get eaten by lions, so that you stay within the lines of what is known, what feels safe what you think, you know, okay, so to change your story and rewrite it, you first have to see

that the story that you are telling yourself that I am

about who you are, is just that it's just a story. It's a hallucination that feels emotionally real. It's a collection of thoughts and feelings that you've been investing energy in, to the extent that you've then been acting on that. And that has been the meaning with which you've been operating on. And then the world is also responding to your actions that are coming from that place in ways that reflect that back, and then you're only perceiving the sides of what's happening to you that do reflect it. And so it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, you've been being this person, and so your life is gonna reflect that that is who you are.

So you have to start with the I Am and seeing it for what it is seeing that it's just the story. Observing that, wow, I've been fully identified with and invested in this idea, this concept of who I am. And

letting that run the show, letting that be the reasons why I don't get to x, y Zed, or a don't get to, you know, get this goal, or why I'm unlucky or why whatever things come up for you, right? One of my coaches showed me this by saying that my name, our names, right, we respond to our names as if it's just who we are.

And we've been conditioned to respond to our name as if it's just facts, right? And then,

you know, some of us come to a point where that doesn't reflect who we are, and we question it. And that becomes that opportunity to

change and rewrite that story. The same will be true, if you've been navigating the social context and upbringing which parts of your experiences

are not acknowledged, or you're misinterpreted or misread and the mirroring of who you are the IRM that is presented to you

is going to be a specific story, right, it's going to be a collection of the predominant ideas that have been mirrored to you about who you are supposed to think yourself to be, or what other people think you are. And so over time, that becomes the story of who you are, that you then internalise that you adopt, that you invest in, even though it doesn't feel good, even if it doesn't feel good to think of yourself in that way, or isn't reflective of who you feel yourself to be.

It's going to be very hard to shake all of those ideas coming from outside of you all of that feedback, that condition story of who you are.

If it's you know, if it's being fed to you over and over again. And then if you start to believe it, and start to see yourself like that, and start to see all of your experiences in that way. You then just build on top of it becomes more and more, it feels more and more real. This is why having a group of people who

share some of your experiences that haven't been acknowledged and don't require you to

be a certain thing on projecting onto you don't require you to like them or be liked for you to be liked in order to be there. Where there isn't that projection. That's that's why it's so valuable. You get to experience different feedback and have your body be believed.

So anyway, becoming aware of the I am story that you identify with that feel true that feel like facts, seeing it for what it is as a story that you don't have to fully identify with.

crying a little bit of gap between that I am story and the inner you that is able to observe it as a story. That is where you start experiencing that the self concept that your brain conjures up when you think about self. is just

an idea is just a story is just a concept. That is 90% of the work.

of changing that story.

And what this means is that you, you have to allow for and be open to the possibility that you have no idea who you are, and who you could be, that maybe there's whole sides of you that you've never allowed yourself to experience. And

that when you're making decisions based on your past,

all you're doing is just closing off the possibilities of that potential.

So, there's your past story of self, there's the self that you've been being

the self that you could become, you haven't met yet, fully.


when you consider that your future then is truly an unknown, as is wide open space of

dark matter potential right of possibility that you haven't investigated, because so far, you've just been being the I am story of your past self.

When you realise this, you get to step into that space of finding out.

So what happens when I make new decisions that feel totally alien, that deviate from this self that I've been being? What happens when I make a decision that goes against the grain of who I've been being of who other people think I am?

What happens when I just do a little bit of that just to show myself that something other than what I've been telling myself is available.

So being open to that not knowing means embracing that discomfort of growing into new possibility of not staying within the lines of what is familiar and comfortable for your brain, it means the discomfort of growth instead of

the discomfort of stagnancy, and the sameness of, you know, having the future replicate your past. So this means gaining new experiences means gaining new information, to then build new context with for who you are becoming.

Self is just who you are being right now.

And awakening the potential of your whole self, your future self means starting in the right now but then intentionally making choices that are Yeah, questioning and going against the grain of habit, but towards the goals that you have.

Now, there's a complication here, so we need to go on a side tangent, which is that if you script if you mask if you had this kind of idealised image or persona version of you,

then that will also be a collection of the I ams the stories that are not about who you are, but about who you're supposed to be, who you've been told you should be the version of self that you've come to believe that you need to be in order to please or meet a standard will be acceptable or fit in, right so not only is there this inside self that is perhaps believing and I am story of inadequacy. But then you might have this inverse of that story of who you believe you are supposed to match up to this idealised self, who is good enough, this idealised version will show up in your fantasy interactions in the scripting in your head. In your imagining of this future version of you that is fulfilling the brief, that real you has struggled to fulfil a brief that you were never meant to fulfil expectations that carried specific agendas that just weren't a match for how you best be all of who you are. And yet, the collected impact of this is this underlying self concept of being not good enough not being capable, or not being able to make what you want to happen. And being inadequate, being not enough being bad. And then compensating with this false ego self. That is in direct relationship to the idea that the real you

is not good enough, right?

That real self, underneath the full self can be really hard to look at. It's can be, and it was, for me, really icky, difficult, shadowy work stuff of walking through the mud of shame and ego trips of I'm not good enough. And

the only way is through

but it's not permanent, right? This is, this is a temporary journey. And you have to bring that I am story to light. When you see it,

then it's only then that you can see it as the story that it is. So it see it for the story that it is not the truth of who you are. So you might have an I am story that you haven't wanted to look at, you might have one that doesn't feel good. And the reason it doesn't feel good, it's because it's not actually true. But it feels true, you have the emotions of it being true. And those emotions will be negative. And so you might be avoiding those negative emotions, avoiding looking at your I am at your self concept, and really facing it. And allowing all of the emotions that come up, while also recognising now that you've looked at it, that it's just the story.


if you're I am if your idea of yourself, contains negative emotions, if it doesn't feel good, that's where it's not true, right? Because when we have an accurate self concept, it feels good, feels empowering feels like, Oh, this is just who I am.

It doesn't feel shameful and bad.

And less than Okay, so you want to go to it, you want to look at it, you want to shine a light on it, you want to bring it to the surface, make it conscious, and face it so that you can unravel and see it for the story that it is

when you're wanting to show up in your work in the world, or even just to get by, because FYI, no one has it all together. No one is happy more than 50% of the time. No one has made it. Today, I've been in a complete bad mood, and it's not shifting. And I'm just it's there, I'm allowing it, right. But when you're wanting to show up in the world, and be visible and be seen and be with other people in any capacity, both the I am story gets activated but also that false ego persona coping mechanism will also be activated will cover up

until you've actually addressed that inaccurate im story underneath your experience of being with other people will magnify that underlying self concept and whatever feelings are produced by your own experience of your own self concept, whatever that those feelings are, will be triggered by the presence of other people, by the possibility of being seen by meeting other people having them look at you, having them get to know you any kind of vulnerability or sharing of self or being seen. That is what gets triggered. And so that will be your predominant experience of being with other people of being visible and being seen.

I used to absolutely fear like death being recorded, and also being seen in the mirror.

Talking when I was with someone else or even doing anything, I'd hated looking in the mirror. When I was with someone else I hated the idea that they could see me I was afraid that they could see past this mentally conjured persona self that was kind of papers thin and held up by scaffolding with a lot of energy and that they would see through that and we'd see this real inadequate self behind it or so I believed I was an inadequate and that they would see that this is the operational workings of a mask right this is how you unmask is is that you address that I am story as your first step. This is why lens cleaning the lens on learning who you are not

cleaning the lens with which you see yourself this is

The first main hurdle This is the first main big breakthrough in the solar system, once you start to really see this story, and question it, and then orient yourself to paying attention to the experiences you're actually having, not trying to maintain this false persona and cover up this inadequate real self. Once you've addressed that, then you open up the possibility of living in that unknown space and choosing self connection, as your only goal as your way of navigating your life. And then out of that, you get to reinvent that story. Because you are starting to respond to your life circumstances, in new ways. That is step three. So those are the three steps again, of the solar system. And after that, self becomes this playground of discovery and invention and evolution and growth. Because any challenges that come up, it's like, well, I just need to raise myself concept and reinvent the I am story

into someone who has solved it, who's sold for the or has.

Yeah, who is able to meet your life where you're at, and take it somewhere new. What I did to realise the solar system in the beginning. And to overcome this fear of visibility, even before I come up with the concept of the solar system, was to invent an alter ego, or an alter energy for the sides of myself that I wanted to bring to the front and put in the driving seat, which was that Mars conjunct Moon in Aries self, that emphatic communicator, that action taking part of me, that side of me that is willing to be visible,

so that I could start realising my goals, that Oh, two energy, that alter ego is called solar. And it's really just for me, so it is the WHO that I click into. And that helped me start being a different version of myself, and embodying the energy of that possibility in that future self. And it allowed me to step out of the story of Iran that I had so heavily invested in and learn to associate with a specific name and self concept. And it allowed me to start experiencing other sides to me, and to start being in the unknown, of finding out who I really am, and how to be that version of me.

So that's the process. The result of all of this is that you can start being who you're actually here to be, that your experience of being with others of being seen and being recorded, of showing up of reaching out and meeting new people is positive. Because your self concept is positive, because it feels good. So when you meet someone else, that good feeling, is just magnified, right? You get to come out of hiding, and come out of your shell to yourself, and are no longer hampered by this lens with which you experience being only this very narrow version of yourself, the one that keeps you small, the one that keeps you from taking those leaps of faith that you know, on some level you are capable of, and becoming that version of you. So if you haven't, if you feel like you've been stuck, if there's goals and dreams that you've had, that you haven't been able to realise it's not because of anything about you.

But it might be because of the story that you've had about who you think you are.

It's time to change that story. And write a better one. And this is the work that we do over and over in the solar system. And it's the work also of being intentional about what you are making your life mean, what you are making yourself mean what you are making your experiences mean. And this is literally the answer that you're looking for. If you've been looking for how to unmask This is available right now and the decision to stop making that change is going to have to be at odds with who you are be who you've been being. So if you want to start being more of your real self, you've got to start seeing whoever by who have I been being what have I been believing myself to be and then start to write it

We write that story. So over to you. What is the I am story that you've been telling yourself what images or ideas or concepts come to mind, when you think about self, and what's possible for you, what other people think of you, any of those thoughts, all of those sorts that come up are the story. That story belongs to you, it's happening in you. And now you get to rewrite it. And you get to keep rewriting it every day, every year, every time you identify a goal that feels just outside of your reach, or a problem that you haven't yet overcome, but is calling you to stop being the next version of yourself or the person that you are becoming on the way to having it done. Alright, I'm gonna finish there. Lots of love to all of you and I will talk to you very soon.

Thanks for listening to this week's sensory siblings podcast, head over to, where you can join the +Siblings Discord server, and discuss the topics explored with other listeners. And if you're ready to go deeper into activating your future self, I want to invite you to join my sixth month, unmasking unschool called the Solar System Plus siblings. You're going to unlearn the habits of self negating then create self esteem, self clarity, and the self belief to model the social esteem that will create culture shifts, first in yourself, and then rippling out into everything you do and beyond. Head over to where you can join The SOLA System + Siblings, and I will see you inside




is for #autistic-status visionaries, creatives and change-makers, who are seeking a more empowering way to see, know and be yourself.