How do you describe yourself?
Is it about your roles or jobs, your appearance, what you like or dislike, or something else? Some descriptors are easier to use…mother, wife…They are based on fact, rather than anything else. But even then some descriptions still have values attached to them – ‘stay at home mum’, ‘housewife’ anyone?
In my everyday life, I often use other people to describe myself; ‘P’s wife’, ‘P/E/L’s mother’. Or I introduce myself as ‘Alice – as in Alice in Wonderland’. Somehow it’s as if I don’t have enough of an identity on my own. I hate needing to describe myself, like in writing my ‘About Me’ page. I like to hide behind something, normally sunglasses!
Once I attended a corporate event with my husband (for his work), introducing myself as ‘P’s wife’, Alice. I then got rather embarrassed when the person I was introducing myself to called me out, saying I was a person in my own right. Maybe it shows how naïve I am and how little I get out, but for me my husband was the reason I was there so it was fair for me to say this.
But deep down, I know the person had a point.
We are all someone.
What is identity and where does it come from? Identity is what make you ‘you’, a distinct individual. As with many psychological concepts it is hard provide concrete answers about how identity develops. But it is clear that it is partly about you in relation to others. If lived in an isolated way, would we feel the need to describe ourselves?
Identity connects the internal and external selves that we have. Description, values and perceptions. Starting my blog was about beginning to link those parts of me together.
And yet, I still find it uncomfortable to describe myself as a writer; every time I type it I cringe, fearing its pretentiousness. Like selfies, it is drawing attention to myself. Imposter syndrome was something I felt when I first became a mother, as a newly qualified staff nurse. I know that it largely diminished over time, and I know it will happen with the ‘writer’ title.
Who are you?
New identities take time to adjust to; I haven’t know anyone who hasn’t felt the huge change you feel once your first baby is in your arms. Isn’t it right that when you first start a new job, you don’t assume you know it all? I even took several years and a name change to become accustomed to being a wife.
To anyone that feels they don’t know who they are, they don’t know what their identity is; it will come if you let it. We need time to be ourselves in whatever form that may take. Clarity will happen if we allow time for discovery and exploration. Some people just do that quicker than others.
Follow what gives joy, with passion, and you will blossom into what you are supposed to be. Sometimes one part of you engulfs the rest. You can find balance. Feeling comfortable in yourself comes from recognising and accepting yourself. I overthink things a lot, but it’s who I am; I hear the worries I have and then I let them go. Our actions mean that we become who we want to be – I keep writing and publishing even when the doubts creep along.
Our lives describe us, but don’t define us.