Who are you? How do you define yourself?
Recently, one of my readers sent me this question:
“(I am) struggling in a culture/society that tells us what we ‘do’ (careers) defines who we are when jobs are often deeply unsatisfactory. How do we get beyond this definition of self while continuing to live in a world that endorses it?”
I think this reader has answered the question without realizing it. To live with differences but not let others define you is a powerful way to liberate oneself.
I have been going against the norm, by not working full time while my children are young. I have one more year before both kids are in school full time. As it gets closer, the tug to make more money and work more hours gets stronger.
I am proud that I have been able to maintain my counseling practice on a part-time basis, while also being home with my kids. I haven’t let others define me or what is best for my family.
Are you feeling trapped by someone else’s definition of who you ought to be? It’s time to free your identity without having to turn your back to others.
How Do We Free An Identity Crisis?
- Be dependent without letting it define you. We are all dependent on our jobs for income, but we don’t have to let them define us. Not all jobs answer a calling or passion, but they are each important and valuable. My work is an extension of me, but it is not me.
- Expand your definition of yourself. I used to define myself narrowly by my accomplishments. Now, I recognize myself with all of my colorful, imperfect parts too. Expand your definition of who you are by finding ways outside of work to express your life’s passion and interests.
- Let go of fear and unmask yourself. Let others know you as you learn about them too. You may find more similarities with others than differences. Find others to connect with who share similar interests or hobbies.
An Exercise to Expand Your Self-Definition
I’m going to lead you through an exercise to unmask yourself and expand your definition of yourself. Complete it in private or share it in the comments, but most importantly share yourself with others, even if it’s different.
How to Write a Biopoem
(Line 1) First name
(Line 2) Three or four adjectives that describe the person
(Line 3) Important relationship (daughter of . . . , mother of . . . , etc)
(Line 4) Two or three things, people, or ideas that the person loved
(Line 5) Three feelings the person experienced
(Line 6) Three fears the person experienced
(Line 7) Accomplishments (who composed . . . , who discovered . . . , etc.)
(Line 8: Two to three things the person wanted to see happen/ to experience
(Line 9) His or her residence
(Line 10) Last name
Author of Liberating Choices Unmasked
Organizer, encourager, acceptor
Married to John, mother of two
Loves to encourage change, watch relationships patterns, and learn how others overcome adversity
Who feels inspiration from all of my senses, joy when people learn new things, and peace when creating space for myself.
Who fears trying to do too much and missing what is right in front of me. Who fears not living up to my potential. Who fears losing loved ones before I’m ready.
Who created a blog about taking small steps for big change. Who discovered ways to improve my health through relating to myself and others in a new way.
Who wants to experience traveling to another country and sharing a book written by myself.
Born and lives in Missouri
It’s your turn to share how you define yourself in a diverse world.
“Digging deep, I feel my conscience burn.
I need to know who and what I am.
This hunger jolts me from complacency.
Rocks me, makes me meet myself.” ~ Closer to Myself, Kendall Payne
Photo Credit: “One Moment in Time” by Dar’ya Sipyeykina