Who are you?


How do you define yourself? Who are you? If the first thing you say about yourself is about what you do, then you’ve missed the point. I used to start out with wife, mother, nurse. But that isn’t who I am it’s what I am; there’s a big difference. Who you are has to do with your attributes, your inner self, your qualities; what you are describes your roles in life.

I am a parent, was a wife and mother, and that’s how I defined myself. Then I began to realize that what I did had nothing to do with who I am. I spent a couple of months by myself, groping in the dark, to try to define myself as something other than a used-to-be-a-wife-and-mother-but-now-a-college-student-totally-on-my-own. It took some time for me to realize that my roles did not define who I was as a person. Gradually, my mind cleared, and I crawled out of the black hole I had made for myself to find that I actually like who I am. There were things I needed to change; I was a perfectionist, judgmental, and needed to allow others to be who they are for themselves, not because that’s what I wanted for them.

Today, I am still happy with who I am. I don’t expect life to give me anything, but I do expect to take from life whatever I need to sustain me. I will search out what I need; in books, from other people, from the Universe, wherever I can find it. And I think I can help others who might have lost their way. I will never push myself onto others; they have to want what I have and ask. Does that sound arrogant? Maybe. But I believe I have to take care of myself or I am no use to others who might need me. I know who I am and what I have to offer.  Do you?

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?