Who are you this year?
Do you know, have you an idea… perhaps an inkling?
For many years who I am was tied to the roles I played, and it was not easy to move across the invisible but strongly felt boundaries. I remember on a train at peak hour commute, telling myself I needed to stop being adversarial and argumentative, and instead be nurturing when I entered my home into the open arms of my son.
I wasn’t particularly comfortable operating in any one role, finding each lacking on their own. And I was partly to blame for this dis-ease. My mind needed to make sense of my busy existence (which I wore like a badge of honor) so it compartmentalized these roles. Then I fitted myself into these segregated roles; each with strong stereotypical characteristics. I conformed to the stereotypes, creating an image or identity suited to the occasion, which meant removing the characteristics of the other roles.
Instead of bringing my whole self, I used what I had believed to be appropriate, the norms. Analysis for lawyering, caring for mothering, and so on. I would like to say there were overlaps, but mostly I kept things in their places. Any emotional struggle were hidden.
Thank goodness, I am far from those times. The passing of time and life experiences, deep reflection and self-work later, my mind now is a place for emotive thinking, my approach is of seeing change as inevitable and exciting, allowing for creativity and refusing to short-change myself. My mind receives messages from my heart. Most of the time.
And thus, I don’t identify with any one role, rather to see these roles as the layers within me, each rich with experiences bringing to me different knowledge, skills, mindset, attitudes and responses that I can apply to anything.
Our willingness to accommodate others’ expectations and to role-play compromise our integrity. There may be a price for being true to ourselves – that we may not be seen by those who choose to only see with narrowed vision, that we may show ourselves to be less than perfect, noisy and messy at times (heaven forbid! 🙂 ).
And a lesson from the years past –
To hold your identity and self-image lightly for they may evolve and change, willing to be flexible within context, and in each moment, choosing to be true to yourself.
So the question at the beginning is a bit of a trick.
I hope you are “just you doing you” – whole and authentic in your approach to all that you encounter.
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