Self Definition

How do you define yourself? When someone says to you, ‘tell me about yourself’, do you tell them what you are? Or who you are?

Too often we define ourselves by what we are, by our roles in life; wife, husband, son, daughter, accountant, etc. But this isn’t who we are. It isn’t easy to define who we are because we are the sum of our experiences, and we all have different experiences. We may have had the same parents and the same upbringing as our sibling(s), but we are distinct personalities and react differently to the same situations. Very often, an interviewer will ask for three adjectives to describe ourselves; how do you respond?

We are not defined by our roles in life or by our jobs. Those who do define themselves by their roles or their careers find themselves floundering when that role or that career changes or is taken away. How often have we heard stories of people who retire and are then dead within a year or two? It may be because those people defined themselves as their job instead of the person they were. Or the parents who suffer depression when the kids leave home – ’empty-nest syndrome’ – because their life was devoted to their children.

We all have traits, good or bad, that make us who we are.  So who are you?