Who are you? This topic keeps coming up in my life, everywhere I turn. So, I am giving the idea real thought. There are the obvious answers for all of us; wife/husband, parent, friend, daughter/son, brother/sister, employee/employer, runner, hiker, dancer.....
You can be all or some of these things and truly identify with them but Who Are You Really? If all those descriptions went away would you still be here. If suddenly you were divorced would you cease to exist because you are no longer married? Of course not, so the question remains...Who are you?
In her book "Eat, Pray, Love" author Elizabeth Gilbert is given this question and after contemplation she guesses that she is a writer. She is told that is what she does, not who she is. She is then given the option that maybe she just doesn't have a word yet for who she is.
When these titles fade away because of divorce, empty nest, injury, death of a loved one, retirement or a job change then where are you - the real you. Can you define the person you once connected with or wanted to be?
Do you have the word for who you are, yet?
Have you ever put any real thought into what makes up YOU? What's underneath the facade?
I enjoy the work of the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a psychological system that helps you understand yourself and how you are seen in the world. Once you begin to uncover the realities of your personality type the question then becomes, how do you use this information to better yourself and the world that surrounds you. The Enneagram uses one word to describe each of the nine personality types. Depending on which version of the Enneagram you follow the one word could be different but the meaning is the same. I follow the Narrative Tradition of the Enneagram. If you follow this system you would describe yourself as The Perfectionist, Giver, Performer, Romantic, Observer, Loyal Skeptic, Epicure, Protector or Mediator. With each "Title" you will find a much larger description. You will also peel back the next layer to determine your wing and subtype. With that said, I ask the question, Is one word ever enough to describe who we are?
As much as I connect with and agree with the wisdom of the Enneagram it is only one tool and it isn't the only way to uncover the truth about who you are.
What are your deepest desires and what holds you back from obtaining them? Are there practical reasons or is it fear that stops you from moving toward your goals? Has someone made you feel your desires are silly or that you are not up for the task, or is it that you have pushed down your desires over the years so much that you are starting to forget what they are and why you wanted them in the first place?
What holds some of us back from our dreams, while others reach for the stars?
Generally, we can trace back through our lives and find the culprits. Even with the best of intentions it could have been a parent, friend or teacher. It could be ourself through a lack of confidence or shyness....The possibilities can be endless. When you begin to remove the veil that we slowly slipped into over years of living, often times we will find that the hopes and dreams are still there hiding from us. And because they are so hidden underneath, the lack of moving forward can be what is hurting us. We need to express our wants in order to find freedom within. This process can be scary, depressing, or so difficult to think about that we try to stuff it back down to the place it's been hiding for years. But....what if you let it go, allow yourself the opportunity to look at your past choices and explore what made you do the things you did. What if you allow feelings to manifest that you have been able to keep pushed down within yourself by staying super busy, or oblivious to your own needs and wants. The things that you did because you had to for survival or necessity. What if you opened up yourself to your true authentic self not the face you wear for everyone else and most times the face you wear in the mirror? Take the past and explore it, remember your dreams of creativity and adventure and start opening yourself up to the possibilities of a life not yet lived.
As you explore your past, I continue to bring up the questions - Who Am I, What's My Word? In Michael A. Singer's book "the untethered soul" he also asks the question "Who Am I?" he details through all the typical answers but drills down to this "I am the one who sees. From back in here somewhere, I look out, and I am aware of the events, thoughts, and emotions that pass before me." He finishes chapter 3 with these words of wisdom "The great mystery begins once you take that seat deep within." I call them words of wisdom because you can't just read it and change your way of being, just like you can't just ask the big questions like Who Am I? and What's My Word? These are ideas that need time to marinate within you. You need to start taking apart yourself and break out of the shell that you know as your security, delving deep within for the answers. And once you've gone there, is there ever an opportunity to come back to the way you once were. The person that was oblivious to your needs, wants, desires, completeness. This is a scary place and a difficult path. One that can be unnerving and shake your outer beliefs to reveal your inner beliefs and knowledge.
This process can be difficult and you may need help along the way from a professional therapist or coach. You may receive negative feedback from the people surrounding you because they don't know this person that is emerging and that can be scary and uncomfortable for them. Many times they are uncomfortable because they are envious of your courage to move beyond the mask and fearful of removing their own mask. But, as you begin this journey keep in mind, the road may be rocky at times but the road will eventually lead to YOU. The you, you always wanted to know and be, and that my friends can be the most rewarding, liberating, exciting experience of a lifetime.
Wishing you Grace, Peace & Healthy Living,