how do you define yourself

  • Life Experience and Meaning

    Live and Die By Your Own Sword

     sword in the ground in a field of life experience

    Your happiness is dependent upon the meaning you attach to your life and life experience. What you make your life experience mean and the beliefs you’ve adopted and lived by. Try this on for size; If you fail, it’s on you. If you succeed, it’s on you. When you take 100% responsibility for your life and you understand and accept that your “so-called” failures and your greatest successes are a result of your doing, you are destined for greatness. No more blaming life circumstances, people or things beyond your control. No more giving your power away.

    You will have likely reacted in one of two ways to reading my words. Those words will either make you incredibly angry, or incredibly inspired. 

    I find it beautifully liberating to comprehend that if I fail (and I use the term loosely because I don’t believe in failure, I believe in lessons learned and new paths taken), but if I fail, it’s on me. If I succeed, that is also on me. There is genuine power in this mindset. My belief about failure is an example of a meaning that I’ve attached to my life. A principle I’ve adopted.

    Life Experience and Success

    Think of the most successful people you know of. How many of them do you think had significant struggles, childhood trauma, difficult life circumstances in their young lives?  I’d be willing to bet that it’s most of them.

    As Ed Mylett said in an interview with Rachel Hollis, “successful people repurpose the messes of their lives in a way that others don’t.”

    If you don’t know who either of those people are, you need to google them. Click here for the interview.

    As for Ed’s quote, it’s the best advice you may ever receive if you’re looking to change your life. Read it again. Successful people are successful because of what they’ve been though and the meaning they’ve attached to their life experience. They decided to make it mean something good, or to see the good in it. They’ve allowed meaning to take place in a way that benefits not only them, but others.

    Pick Your Path

    path through the woods of life experience

    Rachel goes on to say, “when you walk through a trauma or have had a hard childhood, you take one of two paths. You’re either a victim and you let that define you or it will be the leverage you need to get to the place that you’re going.”

    I personally agree 100% with Ms. Hollis. I’ve done that walk, spent many years defining myself by it, and then reframed it and finally moved on. I had childhood trauma and I let it determine and define who I was as a person, how I showed up in the world, and what I believed about my worth. I also spent years battling depression, anxiety and ptsd and was on and off meds. The day I decided I had to save myself was the day the trajectory of my life changed. How? I reframed what my life experience meant.

    Today I’m happy, healthy, off meds, lost weight and I am very much at peace.

    Life Experience and Meaning

    The meaning we attach to events controls everything. Your thoughts, your beliefs about yourself and about others, your behaviour, your relationships. The way you live your life. Are you optimistic or pessimistic? What’s your outlook and where did it come from?  Look at your life experience and what it means to you.

    I finally got to a point in my life where I was able to see that my life experience has provided me with the tools to help others. What greater gift could there possibly be? Everything I’ve been through (which, by the way, I don’t think is all that different from most) has led me to where I am now. I am in a very powerful place because I know my worth, I know how I can help people, I know my gifts and I know that everything I went through was meant to transform me into the person I am.

    Your wounds don’t make you weak. They make you a warrior, and you are uniquely equipped to help certain people that others may not be able to help. You will say the words that are exactly the words they need to hear and you have life experience that they can relate to. You may be someone’s saving grace.

    THAT IS YOUR GIFT.

    THAT IS THE MEANING YOU NEED TO ATTACH TO YOUR DIFFICULT LIFE EXPERIENCE.

    Powerful female embracing life experience

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  • Who are you without a “job” to define yourself by?

    When we meet others, we often ask what they do for a living. It helps us to form an opinion of them, to define them in our minds, to describe them to others. We tend to identify ourselves with the job we do, whether it’s a profession, a part time job, a full time career, or just “work”. It’s interesting to note that I once read that “job” stands for “just over broke”, which is exactly where those who consider their place of employment as “just a job”, or “it pays the bills” often find themselves.

    I myself don’t have “a job”, (thank goodness because then I’d be just over broke). I’m not “gainfully employed”, nor do I have a profession, a career or full time work.  I could describe myself as a” stay at home” Mom, except for the fact that my kids are in grade 5 and 7, but I am a Mom and I am often at home, so it’s not entirely wrong. Or maybe, a “domestic engineer”?  Actually, I’d never call myself that but it is an accurate description, nontheless.  There are actually many benefits to this “not working” thing, short of the obvious “not having a steady income “.

    I am here for my kids for pretty much everything under the sun. I drive them to school, pick them up, keep them home when they’re sick, school trips, horse back riding lessons, hockey practices and games, homework, dentist appointments, doctor’s appointments, and of course, making sure they brush their teeth, wash their hair, clip their nails etc. etc. What it really means to me is that I don’t miss out on any wonderful (or not so wonderful) moments with them because I know that they aren’t always going to be under my feet, bugging me to make them something to eat, or help with their homework, or do stuff with them. Every parent plays a vital and unique part in raising their children, teaching them life lessons, and making sure they are taken care of. Right now, the best thing I can give them is my time and attention. I may not be able to buy them whatever they want, or take them wherever they want to go, but fortunately, their Dad can. (I’m partially joking when I say that because their Dad and I are not together, but honestly, we still share in their upbringing and always will. And I absolutely acknowledge everything he does for our girls, day in and day out).

    I get to indulge in my passion for blogging, reading, and whatever else my little heart desires. Most people don’t have the time to pursue what interests them. Most people probably don’t know what they would do if they did have the time because they are too busy working at that job and trying to pay the bills. They may have never even thought about what would make them happy. I remember asking my (ex) husband once what he would like to do if he could do anything he wanted. He looked at me like I had rocks in my head. He really hadn’t thought about it before. But to me, my passions are what my life revolves around. I may not have that steady income that others have, but we all know that a steady income doesn’t guarantee happiness. And happiness is something that I definitely do have.

    I have the freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not out shopping everyday or travelling or having all these wonderful, exciting adventures. In fact, I’m mostly at home, on my computer reading or writing or doing housework, normal day to day stuff. The freedom I’m referring to is the fact that I don’t have to be somewhere Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, which I’d hate. Even when I worked full time, it was usually shift work, which I always found gave me more flexibility. The typical M-F job (there’s that word again!) makes me think of being put in a box. How does one ever get things done working like that? How do you get to a doctor’s appointment or dentist appointment, or any other appointment? Other than by taking time off. What if your child’s sick and needs to stay home? I get that it works for many, many people out there and they absolutely love working M-F and having their weekends off. I’m just saying it’s not for me, being the non-conformist that I am…heehee.

    So how is it that I am able to “live the life of leisure” as I like to call it, or “the life of Reilly”, as my significant other likes to say?

    The fact of the matter is that I work on an “as needed basis” for said “significant other’s” fire alarm business when he needs a second person to do fire alarm inspections. It’s actually something that I enjoy doing as I was a licenced fire alarm technician up until two years ago when I let my licence expire because I wasn’t working in the field anymore…but that was before he decided to go into business for himself…I’m contemplating renewing it, which now requires several tests and an exam…figures. It used to just be a matter of signing a piece of paper and sending in your money!

    But I digress…so I do work some, and I blog (which I get a little something from) (not this blog) (it’s another one, you should check it out sometime, http://www.firefightingincanada.com/content/blogsection/3/41/) and I am a volunteer firefighter (which does actually pay, it’s not entirely volunteer). But the biggest reason that I am able to stay home and meander through my days doing whatever my heart decides upon is my “significant other” that I mentioned earlier. I agree to be at his “beck and call” should he need me to work with him, and he agrees to let me come up with a way to “define myself” from the comfort of our own home. I also acknowledge every wonderful thing he does for our family of four and I love him immensely.

    I think I wandered way off topic there for awhile but it all comes down to this…how do you define yourself?

    As for me, I am a mother of two beautiful daughters, partner to “significant other” of my dreams, blogger, volunteer firefighter, and someone just trying to understand who I am and what I’m all about regardless of my employment status, or lack thereof.

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