What Defines You?

on , , , , , ,

No comments

"The illusion of "I am that" holds many of us captive in prisons of our own making. In the struggle to define ourselves as individuals, we often paint ourselves into lonely and sometimes dangerous corners. Gender, sexual orientation, politics, religion, race - although we may belong to a particular group, it is the over-identification with that group that separates us from the next individual. We become stunted in growth when we cling to these outward labels". 
- F. Emelia Sam

Somewhere along the way…things evolved to fall into categories. Everything suddenly (or not so suddenly) had a title or a label with predetermined meaning. Instead of finding our own meanings we allow ourselves to believe in things which we are told the meaning of…including ourselves. When you stop and think about yourself…and what defines you, do you come up with labels like: Mother, Brother, Wife, Friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, Liberal, Conservative, Writer (or insert job title here), boss, assistant, poor, rich, average, etc?

Have you ever lost one of the titles that you thought defined you…such as a job or a spouse? Did you find yourself questioning who you were as a person or questioning your overall purpose in this world?

We so often define ourselves with these labels and then feel the need to fit into the definitions of those labels. However, when we don't fit into those specific definitions, or if we lose one of those labels, we feel as though we've failed in some way. So many of us have a continued sense of emptiness, loneliness, or just unhappiness with no real understanding as to why. I believe it is because we spend so much time looking for other things to define us that we lose sight of ourselves and the fact that WE should be defining our own value and purpose.

In a social network the other day, my friend posted the following: "Are you who you want to be?" and while the responses were mixed with yeas and neighs, I noticed that most of Nos had to do with someone being unhappy that they were unemployed, or not physically where they wanted to be. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not slighting the importance of a job or income nor the desire to be where you'd like to be, but those things don't define WHO you are at your core. When you wake up in the morning and those things don't exist you are still YOU. You may be YOU without a job, or in a different state, or no longer with a spouse, or whatever you feel that you're missing, but you are still YOU.

I think life is all about self-definition, finding your value, and then finding your balance. In order to do so we are often required to remain fluid and go with the flow. This becomes impossible if we are constantly trying to constrain ourselves by looking for labels, relationships, and material things to provide a sense of purpose.

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." - Lao Tzu

What do you feel is holding you back? What restrictions or labels have you placed on yourself? Think about it and then ditch those things. Give yourself the freedom to be YOU…even if you don't have all that you desire at this moment. Release yourself from the added pressure and stress that you've placed upon yourself. I know it's easier said that done but we all must learn how to just BE. Everything else we need or want will follow.

Leave a Reply