Do you know why you’re the way you are? Whatever events led to your current identity, know that it’s not too late to change them.

Who are you?

It may sound easy to answer, but you may not want to just say the first thing that comes to your mind. Think it through. What’s your perception of yourself? 

Is it the first thing that people see? Is it the exterior that you project to protect your vulnerabilities? 

Everyone wears some sort of mask on the outside, but who we are is so much deeper than that.

Who we really are is what we see when we look deep inside ourselves. We are more complex than our exterior allows other people to see. 

Everything we are deep down is a result of many unconscious signals. Those are signals that come after years of exposure to environmental factors. That’s what trains our bodies to have particular reactions to unconscious signals.

But why would this matter to you?

If you’re a high achiever, you need to reach a point of total control over your body. In that situation, even something like body memory is a concept that you have to understand.

Understanding Your Body’s Memory

To highlight how body memory works and why it’s a proven concept, allow me to share Nick Mullin’s story.

Nick was like most kids who grew up in the countryside. His entire time revolved around riding dirt bikes and four-wheelers and doing whatever his friends were doing. 

When the local skatepark popped up, Nick saw endless possibilities with it. Skating quickly became everything he could think about – he wanted to fly around as fast as possible, spin, and whip.

Nick found that one thing that he loved doing.

But on one unfortunate day, he and his mate Steve went into a broken-down warehouse to shoot a clip. The ground conditions were horrible, yet he chose to skate. Unfortunately, he had an accident when he hit a three-inch crack. He got a huge rash from his knee to his hip as a result.

What seemed like an insignificant rash at the time led to Nick getting MRSA – a flesh-eating staph infection. 

He spent a month and a half in a medically-induced coma with a 1% chance of survival. Although Nick recovered, the MRSA had affected his brain tissue and optic nerve. He lost his vision and, needless to say, he didn’t know how he would take care of himself moving forward.

Nick didn’t have the willpower to do anything but feel sorry for himself. 

After a while, he went to the park. He never thought he could ever skate again, given his condition. But hearing the wheels of escape started making him jealous enough to muster up the courage to do something. 

His jealousy paid off.

Nick only wanted to get on the other side of a ramp when he stood on his board. But as soon as he started skating, he slowly started doing everything he could back when he had his vision. Why did it happen?

It was possible because Nick had years of repetition and muscle memory. 

Now, the tricky part was getting past the barrier of not being able to see his actions. Fortunately, Nick learned to let his body do its thing and perform whatever felt natural.

The fact is that there are many stories out there like Nick’s that prove the concept of body memory. But what’s interesting is that it all goes much deeper than that.

Your Body Remembers It All

Body memory isn’t all about repetition. In fact, our bodies can store all the inputs we receive through the years, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Our bodies know how we’ve been touched and what happened to us. Now, you may not remember certain things, but intense events get imprinted in your body’s memory.

Imagine a mother taking her newborn daughter on her lap. And immediately, she starts to cry. She can’t stop crying whenever she has her baby in her arms and she ends up doing it for months. An endless sadness seems to engulf the woman, but she doesn’t know why.

Slowly but surely, foggy fragments of past events emerge about her loneliness. 

The birth of her daughter triggers an emotional event – it’s the memory of losing her sick mother at a young age and the loneliness that came after.

So, what does this mean? Is it all just muscle repetition? 

That couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Sure, some can skate without seeing, like Nick, or kick a soccer ball with precision 50 meters away with accuracy. A pianist even knows how to play a particular piece without a score. 

But we also react in specific ways because of other unconscious signals that our body’s memory interprets in various ways.

We don’t think about it. But we do it because we’re used to doing it. 

And here’s what you should remember:

Everything discussed so far is the result of our environment as much as our actions.

How Your Environment Influences You

Let me ask you this.

What conscious and unconscious signals does your environment fire at you?

Our environment can send positive and negative signals. No matter what they are, the body stores them. 

Imagine someone showing you an image. 

You can look at it, think, and make a choice of what you feel about it. That all has to do with the type of signals your body associates with that image. And the same thing applies to our emotions, thoughts, and physical actions.

If too many things lead you to anger, anxiety, or stress, it’s detrimental to your body and mind. That’s why it’s critical to choose your environment carefully. You don’t want to be stuck and surrounded by people and circumstances that send too many negative signals.

In an unhealthy environment, your freedom of choice becomes limited. It happens when you can’t consciously perceive words and images. You’re left only with the unconscious signals that your body then stores and can cause you mental and physical symptoms.

Body Memory – A Key to Your Development

So what’s the takeaway here? 

Let’s go back to the initial question – who are you?

Your identity is the sum of everything you’ve experienced and how your body causes you to react to those experiences. Also, your identity isn’t what you let people see on the outside, which is often a mask. It’s also not what you see looking in the mirror. 

Who you are is the person who lives deep down inside you – a product of your environment. 

As such, you can always change who you truly are without limiting your potential, but only if you choose prolonged exposure to a healthy environment. 

An environment that will help your body store positive signals.

This article is published at medium.com