Being a Muslim means submitting to our Creator, in our intentions and actions.
"Actions are (judged) by motives (niyyah), so each man will have what he intended." [Bukhari and Muslim]
Submitting first starts with the intention, and moves from there. As all converts or those who find true Islam as an adult know, each step towards making a change in your behavior is small at first... it takes a lot to make a big change. It takes more effort for one to make changes to their behavior that other people are going to notice because it means dealing with the reaction of those as well. When we are looking at the next step, we must have intention first and move towards action slowly, but surely.
As we move towards submitting further and further, there are many around us that will state that we are leaving all that we were behind. The things that defined us are now gone... but are they? Core morals and values can change and adjust through time... with or without religion. But of course, when one turns to Islam and makes changes in their life, they are found to be "blindly following" or the like. In another example, if someone changes their morals and values after having kids, they are "growing up" and "maturing." One implies a brainless decision and the other implies a growth of the human experience.
When we do not understand the growth of another, we tend to label it as regression or misguidance. Who are we to say that their journey is without knowledge or reason?
This goes for Muslims as well... too often we label those of another group (even within Islam) as one who is strayed, without really knowing anything about where their path leads them. What are their beliefs? Just because they are on a different path, we assume they are wrong. For us converts... we now believe that we were wrong at one point, right? So what would have happened if we had that attitude the entire time?
Open your mind, your ears, and close your mouth. Speaking without knowledge is an ignorant behavior, to say it lightly.
Submit to God and in doing so, submit to His way by being silent in matters that one has no knowledge of.
And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be inquired into (on the Day of Reckoning). [Qur'an 17:36]
We can submit within the shade of Islam without losing ourselves... and most of us do. We remain strong, independent individuals who are strong, active community members. We are wives and husbands who respect each other in love and faith. We do so with remembrance of God, but we still each have our own way.
To submit is simply to accept that we feel we are following the best way. This does not give us a right to be arrogant. It means we should remember our position as servants of God and act accordingly. We align ourselves with the life actions we believe to have the most benefit for us, in this life and the next... just like everyone else. Just because someone on the outside looking in sees many similarities doesn't mean we lost our "true selves".