I spoke to a group of women at a fun heath conference/expo Saturday and asked them a very simple question…. Who are you? Right now, in this moment, who are you?
There were many answers that you may expect: I’m a mom. I am a wife. A sister. A mentor. A daughter. Ok, ok. Great.
One sister bravely raised her hand and her answer silenced the room. It was as if many people were thinking it, but none wanted to say it out loud. I wasn’t surprised at all. I let the silence linger. Finally, after that heavy, heavy pause, I repeated her answer:
“I am 41 years old and I really don’t know who I am.”
Heads nodded. Shout-outs and clapping for the bravery of admitting not knowing. So many of us there hadn't even considered the question.
For as long as I can remember the women in my life defined themselves by how they were seen by other people.
And sadly, when those roles ended they were strangers to themselves. Kids move? Adrift. Divorced? Hurt and stuck. Job eliminated? Confused, and unable to say, even to your own self, who am I?
Clearly this was the norm for the folks in my session and for so many of us who are so much to everyone else!
The good news for my group and for anyone reading this is that the question can be like a map. The starting point is asking, Who Am I? Consider the mental push-ups and thought-work of who you really are and what part of that is already in evidence. What part is aspirational? What part have you outgrown?
We started on a mind-changing, thought-shifting conversation.
If you cannot find the words to describe who you are, how can you put action behind actually being that person?
What edits or shifts do you need to make to journey closer to your self-definition? Who in your life can remove obstacles and cheer you on as you journey closer? Who’s riding with you but constantly keeping you off course? It may be time for them to get out of your car!
The group started the conversation on transformation and affirmation! It was wonderful to witness. When we declare who we are and endeavor toward it, we take all our power and write our own chapters.
Make no mistake, I love my husband and my children and my friends, but when it comes to who I really am... I get to declare that. And if I am all of who I want to be, they get to benefit from it.
Nicole is the founder of Brown BabyCakes. Like her on Facebook.