When who what you do conflicts with who you really are, everyone suffers. Especially you.
This is me. The real me. Introvert. Quiet soul. Happiest living a low key life.
This is who I am.
What I do is different. I’m a fire instructor and a writer. I’m also a mom and wife. I’m a body language coach and mental health advocate. I do a lot of things, but none of them define who I am. We live in a world where most people have no idea who they are because they’re so busy living someone else’s dream or doing what they think they have to do, that they never slow down long enough to hear to their own truth, never mind listen to it.
I like it when people bare their soul
It’s not that I don’t like people, I very much like them. I love to know who people are at their core. Not the persona that they show the outside world, but who they are in their heart and soul. There’s nothing greater in this world than getting to know someone’s fears, their insecurities, their deepest dreams. I love to share their smiles and laughter too, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that there’s something so brave and courageous and vulnerable about baring your soul to another.
And that’s why we work so hard to hide it. Because it is incredibly vulnerable and the last thing we want is to show our wounds and have someone make them worse. We fear it might kill us.
But there’s so much humanity in it, so much truth. So much beauty and authenticity. And sometimes we might only see a glimpse of it once, when they let their guard down. It may also be the only time we’re really able to connect with them.
Who are you?
So many of these days define ourselves by what we do – the work, the job, the thing we do day in and day out, the spouse or the parent even. We attach to these labels so strongly that we think we’d shatter if they ever ceased to exist. But that’s not who we ARE. It’s roles we play.
We may be very good at these roles, successful in our job, happy in our marriage, proud of our children and that’s all well and good – but who are you outside of those descriptors?
And what happens when what you do isn’t who you are?
I find that a lot of people open up to me. Maybe it’s because I’ve become somewhat comfortable at baring my soul and talking about the tough stuff like the mental health challenges I’ve experienced or the childhood trauma I lived through. What I’m hearing is that a lot of people, and I mean a lot, aren’t happy in their work.
I know there may be many of you out there who are thinking, “Ya, well, suck it up. Life is hard. So what?” I don’t mean that they don’t like their boss or aren’t paid enough, (which are valid concerns) but I mean that what they do isn’t who they are. There’s a difference.
Who you are isn’t what you do
Who are you? If you take your job, work, marital status, gender orientation and parental role out of it, can you tell me who you are? What’s the first thing that comes up? Got anything? Nada?
There’s a couple of problems with this. Either you’re so wrapped up in what you do that you have no idea who you really are OR maybe you suspect there’s something more to this game of life you’re immersed in but you can’t see a way out of the game and into your actual life.
I have a very good friend who is in forestry management. My husband joked one day that she’s a tree hugger and she responded that she’s the exact opposite…at least in her job. In her heart, she is 100% a tree hugger. In her job, she cuts down huge swaths of trees. (She also plans the planting of new tress to replace them, but that’s little consolation to the cognitive dissonance happening on a soul level.)
Who she is isn’t what she does and what she does isn’t who she is.
My own soul cried out that day during that conversation when I realize that magnitude of this disconnection for her.
Here’s the thing
I’ve found myself in jobs that weren’t me and it never ended well. The worst was being a police dispatcher because not only did I have ptsd that I wasn’t aware of, I am a soft soul and being in a job where I was constantly subjected to the dark side of humanity was killing me. It was like drinking milk everyday when you don’t know you’re allergic to it and wondering why you feel sick. It ended up being the only job I’ve ever been fired from (yes, I was fired. I’d taken time off after my brother died and couldn’t get my head back into work after. It also didn’t help that the dispatcher I was being trained by used to fall asleep on night shifts so I wasn’t learning as much and as fast as they expected-which was their reason for terminating me.)
I’ve also had jobs that seemed perfect for me at the time, but life (or my insecurities/issues/higher calling that I’ve yet to fully understand) overtook me like a hockey player sneaking up behind an opponent and slamming him/her into the boards and and leaving them in a heap on the ice.
The one thing I know for sure is that no job will EVER fill that void that you secretly and desperately are trying to fill from within. No job, no relationship, no new clothes or car or house. Not even a child. A child will fulfill you and give you a sense of purpose that you would never had known if you hadn’t become a parent, and they are the single greatest gift in the world. My two daughters are and always will be my best work and my reason for wanting to be a better person. But if they can’t fill that void either.
Here’s the catch though when it comes to kids – if and when you fill the void, you become a far better parent, person, spouse, partner and human than you even dreamed you could be.
So maybe the title doesn’t fit the blog
Does it really matter? I may be the only one that ever reads this and honestly, I’ve had work done on my website and now the blog page looks different and I can’t remember how to resize my picture so there’s a lot that’s not “right” about this blog. Does that mean it’s crap? Maybe. Do I care? Nope. I still said what I had to say, whether people agree with it or not isn’t really the point.
Writing this for the soul purpose of impressing people would be the equivalent of trying to fill that inner void with external validation, and I think I’ve made my point on that already.
I don’t care about the SEO or the keyword phrase or sentence structure or any of that. It used to drive me nuts trying to get the little face to go from orange to green in the Yoast plugin on my site. You know what it also did? It killed my love of writing and my creativity and I stopped blogging.
And yet, here I am. Throwing caution to the wind and writing what could possibly be a piece of crap to others, but it bothers me not for I know who I am and I’m not here to please anyone. If you’re my kind of people, you’ll probably love this, and if you don’t, that’s ok too. And if you’re not my people, then your opinion doesn’t matter anyway.
I do have a point though
Make it your mission to find out who you are. Beyond the work, the job, the relationship, the birth order in your family and the size of your clothes. The more you start to uncover the real you, or the old you, or the forgotten you, the better and better it gets. You just can’t find your you in anything you add to your life. You have to start by peeling back the layers and letting go of the extras. You know, the big things and the little things that you do (probably on a daily basis) that aren’t you. The things that you really don’t like doing but you do them anyway out of some misplaced obligation to fulfill some duty that doesn’t even exist that you probably picked up from your childhood.
Finding yourself, your truth, the real you starts by the undoing of all the things that aren’t you. Don’t tell me you don’t know what they are or how to figure them out. You know them because you can feel them in your soul.
So remember, who you are is not what you do and what you do is not who you are.
You are a beautiful, amazing, talented, loving soul and if you don’t feel that and know that about yourself, you’ve got some work to do. Figuring out who you are fills the void once and for all.