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'Who do you think you are?'

Have you ever had "who do you think you are?" said to you? Often, when this line is said, either to us or by us, it is said as an insult, a put-down. Certainly not asking us to consider something positive or about the essence of who we truly are, rather, this casual comment is encouraging us to be defined by the criticism. 


One parent writes: ‘When I was growing up I was told I was doing bad things all the time, every day there was a long list of everything I ‘had done’ and everything I ‘should have done’. Nothing was ever okay, and I certainly wasn’t appreciated and confirmed for being myself. Instead, I shut down and started to believe all the criticism, and in response to all the judgements and criticism, I physically changed my shape, and became someone that I was not. I was always reacting to the criticism, getting angry and having more behaviours to be judged about.

I became what they were criticizing – I made their truth become the truth.

Much later in life I learned that all that criticism was simply not true, but I had modelled myself on it as if it was the truth. Through bringing more tenderness to the way I spoke and treated myself, I learnt to appreciate who I am and what I bring to the world. I found I loved laughing and had a wicked sense of humour, and I was very committed to work. Having fun with that was a far happier way to live.” 


Rather than have a focus on what we or others perceive is ‘wrong’ with us, and how deficient or flawed we are, how refreshing would it be to have a focus on our strengths? Making space to consider what we bring to the world can lift us out of the crazy go-go-go of our lives and beyond the behaviours that often get all the attention. We wouldn't want someone else to be constantly criticised, but do we even notice it in ourselves? If we start by simply noticing the negative talk, it can be the start of a whole deeper level of appreciation, not just for ourselves, but for everyone in our lives.


If we did a simple activity of appreciating the strengths we bring to our relationships, our work and the world and did that with ourselves, our partners, and our children, could we possibly see and feel that the value of holding ourselves in a focus of appreciation is something that can then hold greater value over all the supposed rights and wrongs the world tells us we should make life all about.

A potential life-changer. 


Being criticized and under a microscope that only sees flaws is just exhausting, both physically and emotionally. If we start to look at how incredible we innately are, this can support us to treat others as the incredibleness they are also. Then perhaps we start to bring out what’s inside us, the truth of who we really are, and simply live that.  


Further reading



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