I was watching a webinar last week, which was being presented by Katie of the Daring and Mighty. One of the points that jumped out was when she discussed how we often get attached to the identity that describes our situation. How this in sense can either lift us or depress us.
“So tell me more about yourself?”
Within moments of meeting someone for the first time, they will want to identify who we are. In Britain, where I am from, people may place you by your accent. They may draw conclusions from which region you were born to your class. To go much personal when you meet someone at a social gathering. The opening question may be, “please tell me about you”. They may probe further with specific questions like:
- “What is it that you do?”
- “Are you attached?”
- “Do you have children?”
- What is your fetish?”
Only kidding with the last point, but can you see how people can place identities on you? Lets take the relationship status one, the following dialogue I have often heard, “Well, she finally has a boyfriend and I was starting to think that she may be a lesbian”. So, yes, society can be judgemental. But how about how we identify with us?
“Who am I?”
I was recently asked the question “who are you?” by an acquaintance. I was taken aback by the question, as I had build up a relationship with this person. What connected us is our love for art, and expressing it in words. I thought she knew me through my words, as this is how I express how life inspires me. I mused for a bit. I thought back to how I have identified with self. I come originally from a corporate background, where I worked for some big names and had some good work contracts. After the big world credit crisis around 2008, work then became unstable. I soon found myself out of work. This deflated me, as up until that point I had great success with work and felt that I was secure. My ego was bruised and money was running out. I felt like a loser, as I had defined myself as being successful at work. This was despite having other aspects of my life, including being in a love relationship, being healthy and having friends.
Talking about relationships, I answered with what makes me who I am, was how I relate to the different aspects of my life. This includes being an aunt, and loving spending time with my niece. Meeting up with my friends and discussing the chosen book for our book club; whilst having one friend ask me when will she be wearing her outfit for my wedding. Seriously, I was not joking about the last point, she has already got an outfit made for that day! Then of course, there are all things inspirational, including writing for SophiaWord.
“It’s not about the race, it’s about the pace” – scene 1
People like to compare where there are with others, in business terms it may sometimes be referred to as benchmarking. How you need to have some form of measurement to see how well you are doing. This also occurs in everyday life – it probably started from the day you were born with your parents mapping out your future milestones. When you were younger you may have envisaged what career that you will have, whether you would like to marry and have children. I did this too with certain aspects of my life. I even shared it with friends. Then I learnt one lesson, as I got older, how things do not necessarily go to plan. You may start off in what you perceived to have been a good relationship, not really looking at the person’s core and find out later that they were more of a Prince Harming, instead of a Prince Charming. At the same time you may be checking out how you are progressing against your friend, causing even more pressure. Years ago, when I use to hear of an impending marriage I would be happy on the hearing the news, as I love weddings. But then later there will be a dip in mood, as I ask, “When will my time come?” My mother when growing up would often say, “Nothing happens before its time”. Being the impatient person that I was, I did not fully understand this”. Later I realised the importance of going with flow, trusting that life events will happen when it is the best time for me. I saw it with a past love relationship. Although marriage was discussed, I felt that this person was not right for me. I envisaged the marriage being very short. [No, I am not a doomsayer]. I look back and have gratitude, for not racing into a situation that may have led me to depression, low self-esteem and unhappiness.
“Do not judge a book by its cover”
Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. You never know what happens behinds close doors. Using the illustration of dating again, that seemingly one-half of a couple may deeply be unhappy, despite having the supportive family and healthy babies. They may feel a tinge of jealousy for their single friend.
“It’s not about the race, it’s about the pace” – scene 2
Going back to the timeline. The best timeline to follow is yours. Not your friends, parents, or what society says. It is nice to have a goal, or a plan, but these can change. Being open to new possibilities is amazing and it can take you to unchartered, beautiful destinations. [By the way, I do love to travel] My word for the year 2014 was “allow”. This means setting my intentions, taking action or no action, and going with the flow.
To be happy, it is also about doing what is right for you. I call it being honest. This is something that may be hard to do, as you may have been programmed to think that this is what you should be doing. With the word “should”, there is an implication that others are influencing you. Please forgive me; I am going to be using the “s” word again. If you are measuring yourself against progress, it should be on what you measure as being happiness. I suggest doing a check-in of how you feeling in the different areas of your life. This can be family, friends, and health and love relationships. Then the next step if you feeling that a change is required, is what you can do to change this.
Question: what are you doing today to make you feel joy and enjoy the timeline?