Who am I? This a reoccurring question in my life. I often ask of it myself and have been asked it in various assessments. In the past, I defined myself through my career. I was a nurse, good at paperwork and with a decent bed side manner. My organisational and disorganised sides working in harmony for the most part. I was proud of the path I carved in nursing but when I no longer had that how then was I defined?
Not being able to define myself through work may be the crux of many of my problems. I have worked from the age I was legally able to, always preferring to pay my own in the world. Now I live on the income of my husband and it just isn’t me. But maybe it is the new me, the one with limited motivation and a lack of confidence which would surprise those who knew me. I can exude an external appearance of confidence but it is not a true reflection of my inner world.
I wonder how many other people spend a lot of time trying to define themselves. Or how many of us are defined by others or society? I was defined as a nurse, a wife, a sister, a educator etc etc. But how many of these reflected me, my values or beliefs or were simply roles that I undertook in society?
I am more comfortable in what isn’t me. I have never liked being called Mrs. K because it seemed devoid of individuality, it could equally apply to, for example but to limited to, my mother – in – law or sister – in – law. I think my first name has even more meaning for me as it is my choice having depolled my first name in my twenties. I guess part of who I am is the woman that choose her own first name ( why is a story for another day).
It is an ongoing search, within myself as much as through externally resourced definitions. It is hard to avoid the influence of society and the “common” or “normal” ways of saying who I am. It is difficult to find the balance between definition and what might be consider bragging. Am I really good enough at anything to let that be my predominant response to who am I?
Sometimes stopping and thinking – who am I? can lead to some insightful examination of what is the most important or what I most want to be recognised for or by. And sometimes it can be demoralising as I just have no idea what the right or perfect response is. If there even is such a response.
Anyone else wrestle with this question? Who are you and what defies you?