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  • Writer's pictureBolaji Akinola-Alli

The 3D Model of Self-identity

"Can you tell me about yourself?" should be the easiest question to answer, but a lot of people struggle with a good response because they do not know who they are.

When asked to talk about yourself, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

  • Your career?

  • Your passion?

  • Your interests?

  • Your beliefs?

  • Or an elevator pitch that you had scribbled down to prepare for moments like this?

But is this who we truly are?

Like a jigsaw puzzle, I believe that these are individual pieces that fit together to display a full picture of who we are as individuals. 

I will explain what I mean, but first;

Why does your identity matter?

It is important for us to truly understand our identity because it impacts not only how we see ourselves, but also how we interact with the world around us. It is a journey of self-discovery that allows us to gain deeper insights into our values, beliefs, and aspirations.

As we continue on the journey of personal development, we evolve in our understanding of who we are and our identity plays a significant role on our mindset, relationships, spirituality and health.

There are three dimensions to everyone and most people only get to know themselves in one or two dimensions. The biggest part of us is unseen.

Here is the 3D model of self-identity

1. Soul

The soul is made up of the mind and heart.

In my last post, I explored the power of the mind.

But what about the heart?

Beyond being the physical organ that distributes blood through the body, scientists are also convinced that the heart can influence our emotions.

Emotions here do not only refer to states like happiness, sadness, fear, etc. but they represent an internal state that result from the interactions of a person with their environment. [1]

For example, during feelings of anxiety, the brain kicks the heart into overdrive. But as it races, does the heart, in turn, talk to the brain? - Yes, your interaction with your environment can influence the biological chemistry within you, which in turn affects your emotions. [2]

Imagine how you feel when your crush approaches you or how you feel when a threat comes closer (maybe your heart rate goes up). This internal state, which we describe as an emotion, enables us to act adaptively in the situation at hand. And this is exactly where the heart comes into play. [2]

Basically, your emotions are valid. They are part of your identity. They come to life as a result of the interaction between your body and mind. 

I tend to grow emotionally like I do mentally by reading books, discussing with friends, reflecting on past actions etc.

“There is no separation of mind and emotions; emotions, thinking, and learning are all linked.” — Eric Jensen
"When our relationship to one another is based, not on what we deserve or have earned from one another, but on what lies within our hearts to give or share with one another - not only money, but all the courtesies of life: cooperation; forgiveness; understanding; mutuality; trust; and helpfulness - then, and then only, will that relationship be permanent, a pure gift of the spirit, a pure offering of ourselves. For love is of God." - Joel S. Goldsmith

2. Spirit

The spirit and the soul are often confused with each other, but these are two separate parts of you.

I found a really good explanation that differentiates between the soul and the spirit by Colin Smith:

"Think of soul and spirit as your inner-life viewed from two sides. Your soul speaks of your inner-life in relation to your own experience: your mind, heart, will, and imagination. It also includes your thoughts, desires, passions, and dreams. But your spirit speaks of the same inner-life in relation to God: your faith, hope, love, character, and perseverance. "

Regardless of your faith, I believe there is a spiritual connection between man and God. In order words, we are like different branches of a tree all connected to the trunk.

“We can no more be separated from God than a gold ring can be separated from the gold of which it is formed. We cannot be separated from God.” - Joel Goldsmith

Therefore having the spirit of God within us brings peace, and this is why meditation works. We tap into what already exists within us and focus on something specific for a period of time, to reach a new level of enlightenment.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." - Galatians 5:22-23

I tend to grow spiritually through prayer and mediation. I close my eyes and focus on a specific passage, idea or thought for a short period of time. This has brought me a lot of peace and reminds me to be calm even in the midst of the chaos. For anyone who wants to try it out, I suggest reading The Art of Meditation by Joel S. Goldsmith.

Other ways to be in tune with your spirituality include journaling, reflection and thanksgiving.

3. Body

Finally, the obvious part of us, our physical identity.

This is the part we see - our body.

It is important for us take care of our bodies. I do this mainly by exercising - but I must admit that there are days where I struggle to go to the gym because I do not feel like. But it's all a journey and not a sprint. As long as I maintain the habit, I'll be good.

Other ways we can take care of our bodies include resting, getting a massage, skincare etc.


In conclusion, understanding your identity is a journey that can lead to personal growth and a more fulfilling life. By recognising the importance of identity in shaping our self-esteem and social interactions, we can navigate life more effectively and build stronger relationships with others. So, let us take the time to understand and appreciate our own identity and the identities of others.

If you're reading this, tell me about an obvious part of your identity, your name. - What does it mean?



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Apr 26, 2023

My name is Elysa and it means “God has redeemed”. I think it was somehow intentional that I was given that name because I have the tendency of getting in trouble a lot.😅 This was a very good read. Thank you, Bolaji.

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