Finding the YOU in Yourself
Each piece of who you are matters, but are you truly honoring them? Or are you stuck in a rut of only acknowledging one of the many pieces of you? Take these simple steps to help you identify the main components of your identity and how you can implement practical pieces to allow all of them to shine.
Determine the top three identities of which you most associate and then make some plans to pay them each equal attention.
As women, we are complex with a lot of pieces that make us a whole. BUT, how often do we take time to reflect on what exactly those pieces are? More so, how do we ensure that we aren’t allowing ourselves to fall into the trap only identifying with one aspect of ourselves and let the rest of who we are fall by the wayside.
- To get our brains working, grab five pieces of paper; scrap paper will work just fine.
- On each of those five pieces write one label on each which you identify with in a positive way.
Some examples could be: professional, mother/parent, partner, woman, educated, philanthropist, Alpha Xi Delta, care-giver, daughter, volunteer or anything else you determine.
- Once you have written one on each of the five pieces of paper, whittle it down from five to three.
- The three you have remaining should be the ones which you hold the most dear, the ones with which you identify with the strongest.
After you’ve selected your top three, select the ONE you believe to be the most encompassing at this point in your life. Which of the three identities do you spend the most time “in”? Try and think of right now, as it could change from time to time. For example, at one point in your life, professional may have been your #1 identity. A few years later that may have changed to mother/parent.
The identity that you selected as your #1 may have a tendency to overshadow the other two. Does it take over? Because you’re spending so much time in this one part of who you are, have you lost a little (or maybe a lot) of the rest of you? It’s time to strike a balance—maybe not perfectly, but a little better as to not let one aspect of who you are run the rest of you out of sight! But, how do we do that…
1. Start with your #1—what are three things that you love about this part of who you are? What about this part of your identity brings you joy?
What one thing would you change?
2. Follow the same steps for the other two identities.
3. What two things can change in your everyday routine or structure that will allow for more time for your answers to the second question (your responses for your “other two identities”)?
1. I have identified that my #1 identity is that of a partner to my husband. This brings me joy because it highlights my ability to be half of a caring relationship, brings me stability and makes me feel love every day. The one thing I would change is being better at communicating to make sure we are both in agreement on decisions that are made together.
2. One of my other two identities is that of daughter. I really enjoy that I have a strong relationship with my family, I am more patient because of this role and I have a support system that I can depend on. One thing I would change is my family’s ability to see me as an adult.
The last identity I selected was that of professional. I love that I get to go to work and make an impact, that I have an established network of professional colleagues and friends and that I feel confident in my abilities. I would change how much I think about work outside of the office.
3. To allow my identities as both daughter and professional become more equitable with that of partner, I could engage my family by inviting them to dinner at my house twice a month. I could also take my parents a meal and eat with them as a surprise! Another easy thing to do would be to write my family a card—after all, who doesn’t like some snail mail!
Professionally, I can commit to being present when in the office. I could put my phone down during breaks and shared meals and work to cultivate deeper relationships with my co-workers. I could ask Sara the next office over if she wants to go for a walk during lunch a few times a week. Lastly, I can turn the email notifications off once I leave the office for the day.
This challenge is to help make you more aware of the pieces of you that, right now, make you, YOU. It can be easy to get in a rut and lose track of who we are in totality. We, you, are more than just the one identity that was identified as being your #1. Sometimes, we need a little reminder of the individual pieces and parts that make us a whole.
Five pieces of paper; scrap paper is just fine.
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