Residing in the Big Apple allows me to see it all! I get to observe the hustle and bustle, and I also get to encounter the name-dropping and title pitching. NYC is notorious for this. It doesn’t matter what event, you’re always going to get the good old line, “So, what do you do?” Personally I would rather have someone ask me what my interests are, than to ask my job title. A wayward title does not define who I am as a person, or clearly express my personality.
Rest assured, the moment you answer the “What do you do?” question, the person your responding to will begin to formulate their own ideas of who you are. It doesn’t matter whether their idea of you is true or false, people will hold stead fast to these superficial labels. The pitfall of using labels is that, we begin to only see others as concepts or things, and treat them as such.
Despite all of this, there are individuals who would proudly declare what company they work for, their big fancy title, and even what Ivy League University they graduated from. However, there are those who hate this dreaded question, because they don’t feel they can live up to some big standard. This goes to show you how easy it is to get caught up in society’s ingrained concept of, ‘we are what we do or have’. This belief creates a recipe for self-limitation and insecurity.
Stop, and think for a moment on how you have been defining yourself. I can assure you that your initial instinct is to list all your titles, achievements, and accolades, yet these are fleeting markers. To tell you the truth, no impermanent title, label, or accumulation of possessions defines who you are; you just think they do. Many have been led to believe that you’re a nobody unless you attain a position of high stature, adorn yourself in designer labels, drive a top-notch luxury vehicle, and much more.
I can recall engaging in a conversation with an ambitious banker, who was in between jobs and couldn’t wait to get back in the office. This struck me as being odd. This guy had a week off between transferring to the next employer, but was anxious to go back, as if he felt empty! At that point I had to add my two cents, and that’s when the conversation completely flat lined. I simply stated the following:
“I guess you can take the time to focus on yourself. When we’re constantly working, it keeps us distracted from ourselves. It’s like, “who am I without that job? We’ve been conditioned to define our sense-of-self through our work.”
This scenario clearly displays what happens when you solely define yourself through the role or roles we play in life. Wake up and smell the coffee folks, you are not your jobs, positions, bank balances, or possessions. What truly defines you is never fleeting and rarely ever changes; it’s the very essence of who you are. We must constantly remind ourselves that we are human beings, not human doings, and to view each other from a much larger perspective.
I call upon you to take time to ask yourself, “Who am I?” Let’s see if you can define yourself on the premise of something bigger than your job title or possessions. Stripping yourself of external definition will shift you out of limitation and insecurity. Now, as you release those one-dimensional titles, you will allow yourself room to grow and expand. That’s when you can truly look within to discover what really gets your mojo going. You will be surprised to unearth all your unique gifts and talents right at your fingertips, waiting to be shared with the world.
Likewise, if I ask myself the same question, “Who am I?” I would proudly affirm that; I’m a multi-faceted woman that shines with brilliance, and no position, title, or possessions will ever fully capture the unique one-of-a-kind essence of me!
How have you been defining yourself? Do you feel empty when stripped of your labels? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Shawna Kay (Blissed Out Belle)
Kay is a Lifestyle & Empowerment Enthusiast, and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Blissed Out Belle™. Connect with her on Facebook here, and follow her on Twitter @BlissedOutBelle .