“Who are you?”
It’s a question I’m sure all of us have been asked in some form or another. It’s the most basic getting-to-know-you question there is. Who. Are. You.
A lot of us don’t really know the answer to this. Before I started actively thinking about it, like many other people I would have answered “I’m a wife, a sister, a daughter, and a friend.” Identifying who we are based on the roles we play in other people’s lives is a common response (by women especially). We’re emotional creatures, and the vast majority of our most significant emotions are tied into those roles.
The thing is, that’s the wrong answer.
The roles we play are exactly that. They’re roles. Yes, they’re super important and should be cherished, but they aren’t actually who we are. Me as a wife is different than me as a sister, ya know?
So the question becomes who are you, actually?
You have to think about this, because I hate to break it to you, but identifying via roles is very easy. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to be like, “hey, I’m a wife, and this is what I do and this is how I act because of that.” Thinking like that doesn’t lead to a very fulfilled life and it can be especially damaging when the role ends or changes.
Take mothers for example. I’m not a mom, but I witness a lot of mothers lose their own identity when they have children, and when those children grow up and leave as children do, the mothers are lost. They cling to this liferaft of “I’m a mom” so tightly it becomes a problem for them and their children. Call it empty nest syndrome if you want, but from where I stand it looks like time for serious soul searching.
The point is, you can’t live your life if who you are is closely tied to your relationships with others. You have to reframe yourself for yourself. Defining who you are without limiting yourself to who you are for other people makes a world of a difference. Once you do that, you can easily see your passions, formulate your goals, and go on living your life for yourself. It’s not selfish- it’s necessary to live up to your fullest potential.
So, let me ask you: who are you? Are you a writer, a traveler, a vegan, an entrepreneur, a comic, an actor, charismatic, quiet, introverted, extroverted, nature lover, city slicker, animal advocate, healer, dreamer? Are you an artist, a hiker, a number-cruncher, a film buff, an avid reader, a Pokemon Go trainer? Be honest with yourself about who you are and what makes you happy. It’s the only way to true happiness.
Who. You. Are.
You. The very essence of you. If all of your roles and your obligations and responsibilities to others disappeared, you’d be left with yourself.
You’re in the most important relationship of your life. It began the day you were born and it’ll end the day you die. It’s time you started to get to know who you are so you can live the life you want.
Go get ’em. 😉