Who are you?
Really. Who are you?
Have you spent much time contemplating who you really are? Does the answer come easily to you? Or, are you like me, and you can’t really see yourself?
We have roles, nationalities, jobs ...
Our first stab at describing who we are might start with one of the roles we play in life: Mom, teacher, runner.
It might be based on where we live: Canadian, Jamaican, Korean.
Or, it might be based on what we do for a living: lawyer, marketer, nurse.
Sure, these are great descriptions and offer good information. But, do any of these things encapsulate who you really are?
Do they endure?
When you’re at home, relaxed, doing things you enjoy doing, do any of these things stay relevant to you? Or, are they are means to an end?
Or, are they transient in some way? For example, if you’re a Mom, who were you before you were a Mom? Who are you after your kids leave home (I know once you’re a Mom, you’re always a Mom, but that role is no longer so central to your life. Then what?)
Why might this be so hard to answer?
Essentially, it’s because, from a very young age, you’ve been trying to fit in. When you were little, you wanted to fit into your family, and then went to school, you wanted to have friends, be part of the gang.
As you grew into being a teenager, fitting in may have become even more vital, almost like survival. In college or university, this may have loosened up a bit as you finally made some individual decisions about your destiny.
And then, as someone entering the workforce, you may have felt the drive to claim a career, a way to make a living, and a label that felt safe and secure. You had your head down, doing all the things, so this question may not have even seemed relevant.
Looking outside to see who we need to be.
In essence, you were outward referencing. We all are. You were reading the room. What is needed here? Who do I need to be to be accepted, to be liked? What credentials do I need? Who do I need to know? It’s not a bad strategy for life.
But, as we all get funneled into the cultures’ slots for us, we lose something elemental. We lose touch with ourselves. We buy into the culture’s story that if we do a, b, and c, we will be happy and feel great.
So, it feels good to grind it out for a decade or two, but then we lift our heads and think, “Wtf? Why am I not fulfilled and happy?”
This strategy works. Until it doesn't.
Doing what you’ve always done, you lift your head and look around to see who is fulfilled and happy. Maybe you should do that. But, it doesn’t feel quite right to leave your sure-thing life for something so uncertain.
So, you keep looking. You might look at all the available jobs on Linkedin and none appeal to you. Or, you might look at someone’s Instagram life, and covet it, but it’s not quite right. When someone asks you what your dream is, you have no idea.
Here’s the thing: It’s hard to know what you really want until you know who you really are. It’s not a conscious thing, but we’re all kind of funneled into what is available in the culture, so we don’t have much practice at understanding ourselves and what we really want.
it's an inside job.
You don’t have to quit your job and move to a cabin in the woods for a year (unless you want to). You just need to make time to look within you – to ask the right questions, dig into your past a bit so you can get back in touch with the real you.
I’m a big advocate of Astrology and Human Design. These may seem like esoteric, woo-woo things, but they are a great place to start. They help you see yourself and articulate things like your purpose and what you’re here to share with the world.
You don’t have to buy into everything about these magical tools, but you’d be amazed at how much the information can resonate.