Hi – I’m introducing a new guest writer, Mairead Moriaty, in this post. I really like what she has to say in “Who Am I?” and I hope you’ll like it as well. All the best, Peter.
Who Am I?
By Mairead Moriarty – (a special guest writer on lifeintherightdirection.com)
Have you noticed how ‘connected’ our world has become? It is rare for you to be in a location when you are unable to reach for your phone and make a connection with someone else. Yet, for all of this miraculous connectivity, as a society we are ever more separated from those around us and coping with fractured relationships and career dissatisfaction.
Why is this?
It comes down to one vital question “Who Am I?”
It seems a rather simple question to answer, doesn’t it? Of course, when I say that you are not allowed to use terms like “mother”, “husband”, “teacher”, “accountant” and so on, it can make it all a bit more challenging. The reason that statements like “I am a daughter”, “I am a doctor” aren’t really helpful when you answer “Who Am I?” is because each of these is contingent on something external to yourself. For example, if you lose your job, retire, get divorced, are widowed, or your children leave home, when any of these markers are taken away it can create a significant void within your personal identity.
Why does this matter, you might ask? What does it benefit me to be able to sit down and write a list of adjectives that truly reflect who I am? Well let me explain.
In my role as a Life Coach, I meet lots of individuals who are struggling with isolation, loss and sudden change. At the root of most of these issues is a lack of self-awareness that allows a person to say “This is who I am”. If, without truly knowing who you are, you are looking to find and build a loving relationship or choose a meaningful career, it is akin to going out to buy a pair of shoes without knowing your foot size. How can you identify who or what will blend seamlessly with your life? Essentially, without addressing this key question, you are a mirage for anyone dating or employing you – the authentic person within is not visible or engaged in the process.
A lot of relationships flounder for this very reason. Marriages often end as a result of one of the parties in the union identifying who they are and realising they cannot be true to themselves within the boundaries of the partnership. As well, it can be a situation where an individual finds they cannot make a solid connection with his or her partner as they are unable to really ‘know’ the person they are with.
So, how do answer the eternal question: “Who Am I?”
It starts with the concept of values. Grab a sheet of paper, take a quiet hour and sit down and write a list of all the core values that add true meaning to your life: Honesty, Sincerity, Passion, Creativity, Curiosity, Ambition, Wealth and so forth. Look at each of your values in detail and compose personal statements that reference them: eg. “I am a very curious person – I love learning new things”. “I believe that sincerity is the cornerstone of all good relationships”, “I value passion in myself and in others”, “I am very focused and ambitious – I want to be successful”, “I want to have financial independence”, “I love to paint and enjoying being creative”, and so on. Please don’t write statements that underscore your message but in a negative way, for instance, “I hate people who are dishonest” as this focuses your mind more on the unattractive idea of ‘dishonesty’ rather than the lovelier concept of ‘honesty’.
As well, don’t shy away from any of your key qualities that you might consider less than attractive or positive; ie. “I am not always patient”, “I am very chatty”, “I am sentimental”, “I am quiet and solitary”, “I like a very tidy and organised environment”. All of these details make your personality profile even more vivid.
These detailed statements combine to give you a Personal Charter that clearly identifies exactly who you are. The longer and clearer the list, the more the ‘authentic you’ will emerge. Against this Personal Charter, it becomes easy to see what relationships would work well for you and what career choices will resonate with you. You will, in effect, become self-aware, seeing yourself as a whole person – not just someone who is looking for a sense of purpose from either another person or an organisation.
This exercise allows you to identify areas in your life that you might need to focus on, for example, if ‘creativity’ is a core value you might want to explore how you expand your creative talents either as a hobby or in a career choice. You can use this knowledge to strengthen existing relationships as you gain a better understanding of the principles by which you wish to live and love. Equally important, as you reveal, to those you meet, all of these wonderful qualities and needs, you are on the road to creating mature and lasting connections.
Thinking of running away to figure it all out? No need!
One last thought. In the search to identify “Who Am I”, you don’t need to fling into the nearest skip all of your friends, partners, colleagues or careers. It isn’t a question of packing your bags in the middle of the night and rushing off, on a voyage of self-discovery, to an ashram in India. To be honest, I am always a little sceptical of ‘running away’ to find oneself. A short retreat or workshop is invaluable but a year ‘navel-gazing’ in silence can be counter-productive. It is like learning to swim in a heated pool but ultimately have to return to your life where you will be obliged to splash through the wild North Atlantic each day. If you cannot explore who you are and build a meaningful life from within the boundaries of your daily existence, then no amount of wisdom gained in a tree-house in Borneo will really create lasting change in your life when you get back home.
What do I gain from looking within?
The happiest people with the healthiest relationships and most personally-rewarding careers have a defined and positive understanding of who they are as individuals. They are the interesting, curious, energetic, healthy and compassionate people we meet each day. They have the ability to inspire those around us as well as attract and build new and meaningful relationships.
All of this magic starts when you finally honour who you truly are. It’s time to get past the question of ‘who am I?’ say ‘hello’ to the real you!
Mairead Moriarty is a Life Coach and Writer. Connect with her at www.thelarkwithin.com