Self-Identity: What Defines You?
I suppose it has been a long time coming - a lesson learned through the school of hard knocks, but somewhere along the way, one of the ultimate lessons in life has been learned. I cannot build my own self-identity around the roles I play in life. There's a lot to be said for learning that lesson, too. For one, there is less pain to be had when life changes things up in a big way. Another, it has saved me precious time trying to "find myself" after various setbacks and obstacles have arisen. You see, these things cannot change who I am. I am, was, and will always be me.
So, who am I? Well, I am many things. I am a wife, a daughter, a mother, a friend. I am also a freelance writer. The problem with these things, though, is that they may or may not be permanent representations of who I am. I have, after all, been in the past many other things as well - a student, a barista, a satellite TV installation assistant, a daycare teacher, and many more things. But, life happens. I may find myself suddenly single tomorrow, my children will grow up (perhaps to make me a grandma), and friendships may fade or abruptly end. I may not even be a freelance writer forever.
So, if not these things, what or who am I? I would like to think that I am many things. Just to name a few: honest, loyal, compassionate, and easy going. I know that I am probably more introverted than extroverted, but I would not say I am completely one or the other. I am a dreamer and when around certain people, I can be vivacious, gregarious, and playful. I can also be quiet and reserved, but none of these things really define who I am either. People are multifaceted, and there is no telling what kind of situation or person might bring out a different trait. Therefore, these things might only be a reflection of who I am to particular individuals. Perhaps these individuals might even have vastly different opinions as to who I am.
That's alright, too, because what I have learned is that your own sense of self must derive from something deeper. Once you figure out who you are in your core, you can better define your own self-worth - your own self-identity as it were. You see, all that really matters is how you see yourself. Only when you see yourself in the best possible light can others truly see you in that light. By no means does this mean you are perfect nor does it mean you are conceited; it means that you are able to forgive yourself when you make a mistake. It also means that you are able to shift with the tide when it turns.
Life keeps moving, ever changing as it does. It is wonderful when everything is calm, but when the storms hit, you must be ready to withstand the damage. Understanding yourself is the key to doing more than simply surviving the storms. Like trying to figure out what essence of the ocean means to you, you must find your own essence. Knowing in your heart and soul that the essence of your being is not in the nouns or adjectives that describe you will allow you to lead a happier, more fulfilled life no matter what the circumstances are at the moment. So, accept your essence and you will find yourself.
© 2013 Shannon