I’ll keep this honest and simple. Finding my identity has always been a struggle for me because I associate my identity with my worth and value. For example, having an identity of someone with her Masters degree fills me with a sense of worth and value because I know this is something our society and others would find as worthy and valuable. So when I use the word “identity” know that I am associating this with worth and value.
I very easily find my identity (essentially my worth and value) in what I do – what my resumé says about me, how much I get done on my to-do list, how many accomplishments I have, and the big kicker of how busy I am or full my schedule is. The fuller the schedule, the busier I am, the more I get done, the more impressive my resumé must mean I have more worth and value. And being at home, having work be completely remote, a nearly empty schedule, and losing opportunities to perform and “do” a lot, is taking a blow to finding my identity in what I do.
Finding my identity in what I do is a lie I’m constantly fighting against. It’s a lie because I know what I do (or don’t do) does not define me, my worth, or my value. But it’s a very tangible, socially acceptable, way of identifying myself, proving myself to people, and satisfying the desire to receive immediate feedback of “Am I worthy?”
It’s so much easier to say “this is what I do and see how much I’ve done” as a means to prove myself to people as opposed to saying “well, I may not be getting x, y, or z done, but I’m a gentle, kind, thoughtful, beautiful soul that cares deeply for others.” The latter just does not sound as intriguing or important when held up against the value of productivity or definition of worth our society often uses.
But the latter is also an identity founded on something deeper, is immovable, ingrained in me, and is independent of what I do. It’s an identity that will not change regardless of time, season, life stage, etc. It’s an identity that frees me from the pressures and eyes of people around me. It removes me from a posture of having to prove myself and worth to others, society, etc. because it’s not tangible or measurable in the same sense as what I do is.
The lie that my identity is based on what I do and not who I am is something I have to ask myself daily. Where am I finding my worth today? Is it in my full schedule, my list, my accomplishments, my resumé, the letters behind my name, fill-in-the-blank? Or is it rooted in who I am, the “being” part of my human being? Am I choosing to identify as a human doing or a human being? This whole struggle is why I have a tattoo of “be” on my wrist, btw.
So in this season when I am limited in what I do, where I’m literally being stripped of this ability to do and prove myself to people, and my schedule is constantly changing, but I’m also given such time and space to reflect, pause, and process. I’m choosing to maximize this gift of time and space by practicing seeing my identity in who I am, my being, and using the below practices to help me:
Being grateful: gratitude helps me appreciate the present, practice calm in chaos, and be mindful of others.
*Being still: stillness helps me reflect, process hard and joyful things, and fight against finding identity in what I do as it reminds me that who I am inherently is enough to give me worth.*
Being kindred: as Kindred & Co. defines “kindred,” being kindred helps me reorient my understanding of the person I want to be, for myself, and for others around me.
Being intentional: intentionality brings thoughtfulness and mindfulness to my words, actions, goals, rhythms, dreams, etc. It forces me to slow down enough to notice my “why” which helps me notice when I’m doing something for the wrong reasons. This particular post has been edited with ideas for being intentional during this specific coronavirus pandemic season.
How can we use this seemingly restricted time as a means to reorient our identities off of what we do and onto who we are? How can we practice being in this season? What can we learn about ourselves and how can we free ourselves from the lies we might let dictate our lives when life is just too full to do otherwise?
With joy & gratitude,
*For those of you who pay attention to asterisks, we are working on developing a “be still” journal to help us all slow down during our weeks. Be on the lookout for this and make sure you’re receiving our Kindred Letters so you’re among the first to know when it arrives! 🙂
From the moments that have shaped Kindred & Co. to the big dreams seen fulfilled to the best roundup of YOUR kindred stories, here are our favorites posts.