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Identity Forming Affirmations: What Are They and How To Use Them

​​Who are you? We often describe ourselves in terms of what we do or who we are in relation to other people e.g. student, manager, boyfriend, girlfriend etc. That is why when we lose our job or relationship status, we begin to question who we are. Suddenly our identity is lost.

But imagine what your life would look like if you defined yourself by your strengths. Your identity would no longer depend on what you do, where you come from or who you are with. No matter what happens in your life, you would never lose yourself again. This can be achieved with the use of identity forming affirmations. Try it out for yourself with these 3 simple steps:

This method was created for you at the Iconiq Headquarters. It’s called – identity forming affirmations. Let’s try it right now. It’s best if you grab a piece of paper and a pen and feel free to take as much time to think and write. If English is not your native language, feel free to do this exercise in your mother tongue.


Step 1.

Describe yourself using one positive adjective e.g. I am creative.

If you wanted to use the word creative, please be creative to come up with something else. Think of something that you really, really like about yourself. Now is not the time to be humble. There’s no one here to judge you or check what you write. You are doing this for yourself, remember? Once you have your adjective, say it out loud for yourself – "I am ....". If you can’t talk right now, try saying it out loud another time. It works best if you say it.


Step 2.

Here we are going to play around with the language a bit. But this just shows you how powerful working with language can be. Take your adjective and turn it into a noun. For example - creative would become creativity. Once again, write it down or say it out loud for yourself.


Step 3.

Got it? Awesome! Now a question for you – how did it feel saying your word out loud? How does it feel giving yourself an identity, which is made up entirely of your positive characteristic?


The reason why this method works so well, is simple. When we give ourselves characteristics like creative, generous, kind… it’s like we are slapping on labels onto who we are. Layer after layer. But when you say to yourself I am creativity, I am generosity, or I am kindness. These things suddenly become a part of you. They no longer only describe you, they come from you. They are who you are.

Why should you use identity forming affirmations to shape who you are?

Consider how you describe yourself now. Sister, brother, student, sales manager, single, American or European. Your identity depends on either your origin or your current occupation. Now imagine you lose your managing job. Who are you now? Suddenly a big part of your identity has been taken away. What’s left? But if you think of yourself in terms of you most positive characteristics using the Identity Forming Affirmations, you will never lose yourself. Not in a job, not in a relationships and not in life. Because even if you lose your fancy corporate job as a manager but you know you are perseverance, this loss will not hurt you. You will believe in yourself to find a different job and figure it out. Perseverance comes from you. It is a part of your identity.

Using Identity Forming Affirmations for self-development

Now to give you some room for play, you can also do the Identity Forming Affirmations with – who you’d like to become – in mind. Ask yourself: “Who do I want to become?” and then answer the question with: “I am becoming… love, generosity, intelligence.” That’s the beauty of life. You can decide who you are and you can decide who you become. So who do you want to be?

Identity forming affirmations are a real life hack! Because if at any point your identity gets questioned by a loss of a job or a loved one, your self-esteem will not suffer. You will have a clear idea about who you are and who you want to become.

And now it’s time for a tiny challenge! Try coming up with three identity forming affirmations for yourself.


Identity Forming Affirmations - is a method developed by Iconiq Psychology to help in defining who you are.

Bea is a writer, speaker, YouTuber and believer in the power emotional intelligence. With a background in psychology and business, Bea seeks to bring insights about psychology and emotional intelligence to the millennial generation in an entertaining way.

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