Aside from your name, what you do, your marital and family status, who are you? As far as figuring things out in life I feel like this is THE thing that matters most. It’s not what you do or anything of things numerous industries are set up to make us buy from them tell us it is. It’s knowing who you are that matters.
Finding yourself and your place in life.
I participated in a course once, one that if you asked me I’d tell you a million times to do it. The course was aimed at finding your why in life through knowing who you are at the very bottom of things. Knowing what drives you, the ideas and thoughts you have and the principles you would lay down your life for.
Who you are.
And I found this exceptionally difficult. I identified at the time as a daughter, sister, wife and generally decent person. That’s about it. My roles, my family, defined me. They didn’t ask it of me but growing up in a close-knit family kind of does that, I think. You define yourself by those around you and the ideals they have.
I wasn’t even sure they fit me. But I was wearing them anyway. A bit like my corporate black slacks of the time. Necessary as far as clothing goes, but hardly an expression of who I was. Not a bad fit, probably in the ballpark of what I would choose for myself, but all that I had happened upon to date.
Identity is like that, I think.
We pick up these pieces and ideas along the way. And as a woman, more so, I think. And I acknowledge that as a woman of numerous privileged positions (white, straight, lucky country, comfortable and supportive family environment etc etc), less than many. There isn’t always a lot of telling us, it just sort of happens. And sometimes, people tell us exactly how it’s going to look for us. Or should anyway.
As I struggle in this course to set my own standards, define myself, I found myself questioning everything. A habit I’m proud to have maintained to this day. When someone tells me that this is a way of being I should adopt, eat cleaner, swear less, provide care to minors, I ask why? Why me? Does it even fit with who I am. Who I know myself to be?
And if it doesn’t, then there’s no way in the world I’m taking that on board. I encourage you to start questioning everything. When I thought about cutting off all my hair I had emotional and physical responses. It’s something so minor in the scheme of things, but this very thought triggered a bunch of ideas I had about being feminine, womanly, beautiful.
Questioning it allowed me the opportunity to see these things for what they were. Ideas and only ideas that I could choose to ignore or not. It put me in the driver’s seat of my life. And cringe-worthy example, my hair. But there’s power in that. And who can say they powerfully chose their hair style? I knew in the end that my hair didn’t define me. It never could.
Simple but true.
But neither can your family, your situation, your location or you opportunities. All sorts of results come out of the same situations all the time. Who you are matters. Who you SAY you are matters more. And who you KNOW yourself to be matters most. And I think that’s because you get to decide all these things.