Defined myself by what I was, rather than who I am.
Yes, it’s true I was a Vice President for that Music Channel but I haven’t been for almost 10 years.
So who am I? and why am I so uncomfortable being me?
Most of us define ourselves by associating with an organization or individual, I work for Citibank, Google, MTV etc and I am a Vice President, Director, Marketing this or that. Or I’m Stephen’s wife, Chelsea’s mom, Janet’s sister.
You may well be all of those things but aren’t you also so much more? Who are you when you leave work or your home? What will happen if you leave the office or the company for good and no longer have a business card with a big brand logo on it – who will you be then, and how long will you remain a “Used to be..”
The French have a wonderful saying about being comfortable in your own skin “être bien dans sa peau” which describes some of the most beautiful and confident people I know who joyfully accept and honour themselves “warts and all”.
The thing that unites all these comfortable people is that they Know Themselves, their interests and passions, values and beliefs, strengths and challenges and their confidence and happiness radiates from them and attracts others to them as a result.
I did a personal development program a few years ago and one of the most revealing exercises we did was the:
I Am…. Questions and Statements Exercise.
Just take a large blank piece(s) of paper and write the words I AM … at the top and either use the questions below as prompts or just keep writing down the positive affirming statements and details of your attributes, talents, habits, strengths etc till the page is full. Positive statements only. (I am a caring, happy, optimist, knowledge junkie, a good mother, inspiring mother, working mother, older mother!)
Say the words out loud as you write them down and when the page is full read them out to yourself. Get into the habit of honouring yourself everyday and when you can read them to others, I have no doubt that the people in your life already know how great you are so will add to your list and reaffirm the statements you share with them.
As you become comfortable with the reality of just how wonderful, whole and complete you really are the desire to limit yourself to a “well I used to be…” label will reduce.
Give it a try – I am.
I AM….. Questions and Statements Exercise (PDF Version)