We wake up every day with a choice- we get to decide who are we going to be.

It often feels like we have no choice but to be the person we think we are “supposed to be” and to be the person that we have always been.

But it doesn’t have to feel that way.

What if I told you, you could wake up tomorrow and make the decision to be a completely different person. You can.

We tell ourselves in every moment who we are…

“I am shy and quiet.”

“I am weird and never going to make friends.”

“I am a perfectionist who has to always appear put together.”

“I am not smart enough..not pretty enough..not good enough.”

But here is the thing, all of these are thoughts that you decide to have based on previous life experiences. Who you are is based on the stories and events that have happened in your past. That is just its, it is the past. It isn’t the present, and it isn’t the future.

So instead of asking yourself “What kind of person am I?” ask yourself :

“Who do I want to be?”

When you begin to envision the person that you want to become every day, you will slowly become that person.

I grew up with a sense of naivety and whimsical personality that was often perceived as dumb. Combine that with a valley girl accent and I was a ticking time bomb of deduced idiocy.

I began to tell myself I didn’t know anything. I told myself I wasn’t smart, I convinced myself I was dumb. I began to play that part, I played dumb and let people remind me of the idiotic things I would do and say.

The strange thing was, beneath that layer of dumb-blonde presence I always did well in school, I always knew what the right thing was….

It all hit me one day when I was in college. I was in a physics lab and we were calculating the velocity of a ball bouncing a second time. I literally caught myself knowing what the right answer was..telling myself I was too dumb for it to be right and changing it before I spoke.

I slowly began to catch myself more and more. I realized I was constantly hiding what I knew. I knew what was right and instead of cover it up began to say it. I stopped being afraid of being smart. I stopped being afraid of being judged for actually being intelligent. I started to be myself.

Yes, I am still naive, and I still live whimsically. But now I do that with my mind opened and willing to be real and wise.

The wild thing was, playing dumb was exhausting. I was so tired of being this person that I wasn’t, it felt like I was a salmon swimming upstream and as soon as I gave in, I went on the best water slide ride of my life.

I want you to go on that ride too!

Decide who you want to become. Then, when you notice yourself saying things that contradict that person you wish to embody, stop yourself and say the opposite. I still have to work on it and fight the urge to fall back on “being dumb”. The fun part is looking back and seeing how far you’ve come!

This takes time, and effort but like everything in life- nothing worthwhile happens overnight. You got this!

If you are reading this there is a part of you that you want to change, to accept and embrace. Start being you now, because she/he is going to come out eventually.

This article first appeared on Medium.