This post is inspired by a post written by Amy Reiter at The Daily Beast. Her article was entitled, “Don’t Call Me a Mom: Why It’s Time for Women to Drop That Identity“
Finding my identity….
Who am I? What gives my life meaning….?
These are all questions, areas that more and more of us are asking and contemplating the answers to in our society today. And will be an area of exploration for many more people in the years ahead. Exciting times for many!
The dilemma however that many of us face comes from where we are looking for these answers.
For most of us, our identity is defined by what we do…are we a writer, a coach, a teacher, a professional of any kind, a mother? We find something in life that feels good to be busy with, that we excel at, that we like doing and we glue a “THIS IS ME” label right on it. In our minds we have officially merged our sense of self or a sense of meaning with these actions, these roles that make us feel good hence gives us a sense of meaning.
The problem that happens is that those external conditions or roles change, or become hard – they throw us for a loop! We have put all our eggs in this “I AM A MOTHER” basket, for example, and then when things get hard, are are so invested in, so reliant on the role for the good feelings we get from it, that we either can’t see clearly and trust our instinct when action is called for and/or we react over emotionally. Or we are so invested in the role as mother as a definition of who we are, that when we want other things in life – we can’t seem to come to terms with those seemingly conflicting desires.
But what if we decided today that we were not going to try to find ourselves, find meaning in external circumstances. Or rather, let go of these circumstances being the source of our happiness. Because what we are ultimately searching for are good feelings right? I am here to tell you that you can find that in every single moment. What if we stopped thinking about what label fits, off of who we think we are and put our focus, our enthusiasm on what each moment brings?
What if, instead of looking outside of ourselves for meaning, we decide to SEE meaning, feel good feelings in THIS moment, right now? Searching for meaning outside of ourselves is always illusive, always unstable because external circumstances change! The meaning, the joy, the sense of self you are ultimately searching for is there, waiting for you to SEE it, CLAIM it, and ENJOY it!
I challenge you to stop thinking about what role defines you and get excited about the moment you are in..get curious about it! I am convinced that in every moment, whether it looks or feels like it or not on the surface, has the potential to give you the feelings you desire. Choose to see this, to look beyond the physical, underneath the surface.
Here are my tips for doing just this ->
- Get clear about what is important to you – your VALUES. Here is a great list of personal values. Go through them and pick out your top 10. Then reduce those to your top 5 and list them in ascending order…the most important value first and so on.
- Get conscious of your values and learn to use them when making decisions (big or small) and when organizing your life.
- Choose to feel proud about your decisions that reflect your values and then GET EXCITED about your life.
I remember a few years back, in 2003 when I first started my coaching company. No one knew what a life coach was!! I remember feeling frustrated because all I wanted to do was be useful in people’s lives, make a difference and inspire. And then it hit me! All those “feeling states” I so desired I could find in any moment! I could be useful to strangers in need, make a difference in friends lives and most importantly, I could be useful and inspirational in my own family’s lives! This single realization has simplified my life. I love who I am as a professional, but now I can find what I need to feel good no matter where I am, or what I am busy with! It truly changed the way I show up with my kids and how I relate to my own happiness!