I’ve mentioned it several times during the last few months (and I’ll most definitely mention it again), but this last year has been a game changer in a lot of ways for me. One thing that has been particularly taxing and overwhelming has been the lack of self definition and self worth.
Sounds odd? I mean how we – and I – value and judge ourselves and others using labels. I never quite reflected upon it before, but looking back – and finding myself in a position where my labels yields no power or influence – it’s remarkably clear how much of myself was defined by these labels. I was a university student and graduate, store manager, chairman – all things that carry weight, things that kept up my sense of self-worth. Even when the labels felt too big, or that there were too many of them, I felt accomplished because I knew what I was working towards (namely “bigger and better” labels).
Now, having tied my sense of self and my personal value so closely to accomplishments and measurable achievements, not having a specific goal or label to work towards threw me for a loop. What was my value if I wasn’t becoming bigger and better? What am I working towards? Does it matter, if the end result isn’t something that will make my resume more impressive?
Who am I without my labels?
Quite a lot, as it turns out. Or hardly anything, depending on who you ask. The obstacle is that the one to value what I am and what I do – is me. There is no one to ask. I’m the one to say that what I do is good enough, I’m the one that says it’s important and noteworthy. Not my boss, not the fiscal budget, not my professors – me. Its frightening and exhilarating and at times almost impossible. I am to set the tasks and live up to them, or choose not to.
Who are you when you’re not climbing that ladder – for more fame, more money, more influence, more of everything?
I’m still figuring it all out, and will probably continue doing so for as long as I’m alive. I will also be different things as we go along. The labels will fluctuate and diminish and overpower and breathe and exist along with me – hopefully however, I will be able to distinguish between them and myself.
I sleep better that way.