When our sense of accomplishment and worth comes from what we are able to achieve and overcome during the day, it only makes sense to feel ourselves drowning in self-doubt and stagnation during this pandemic.
Who are you when all the titles and roles are stripped away? When you are no longer the top office performer, Pinterest parent or the well-traveled explorer?
There are narratives that we hear played on a loop of who we are and who we should be. These tapes began their tune early in our childhoods and continue with each passing experience and new belief.
If those messages of what we learned about ourselves are being reinforced by the same patterns of behavior, it is near impossible to rewrite those beliefs with new ones.
“They” say: Love yourself, Take Charge of your life and your future, Align your life with your passions!
Those are all fantastic aspirations and ones I hope to help all of you reach. But HOW do you get there?
It first comes down to being able to identify who you are, at the core of you, without all the labels we collect as we go through life.
I am a Bangladeshi woman, divorced, in my late 30s, fierce mama of two amazing little humans, entrepreneur, award-winning author, therapist, and homeowner. If you didn’t know any of this about me, and all these titles are stripped away, does my worth get wiped away as well?
What would you see when you look at me? When you get to know me?
What defines us as a unique individual is not determined by the roles we play; they are merely an extension of what already lies beneath.
The challenge is sifting through all the years of conditioning and getting to that part of what makes us who we truly are.
Let’s start with the narratives we tell ourselves about who we are, who we should be and what we aren’t measuring up to.
In order to do this effectively, we must be able to move through different dimensions of cognition and understanding of our perceptions. Here is what I mean:
I will ask you to write out all that you are feeling thankful or fortunate for from now going back a whole month.
For some, this list will sound something along the lines of being thankful for the love of friends and family, having a job, having a place to live, being alive and fairly healthy, if not a job, then thankful to be able to pay most of the bills and having the opportunity to look for a job, and perhaps even feeling fortunate to have access to fundamental needs such as food, safety and entertainment.
This list is accurate and correct AND is what I call primary or surface level perceptions meaning, they are non-descriptive, non-emotive reflections that are generic experiences.
My request to you is to go a bit deeper into your own unique encounters and give a detailed explanation of what you mean by the original examples.
If your list shared love of friends and family, what did that mean specifically to you? Did someone call or text to show support and that they miss you, did you get to share a meal where the memory is a wonderful moment to remember and cherish? Was there a carefree exchange with inside jokes that lifted your spirit for a time?
It is the WHY behind an event that gives it meaning.
By identifying the why, or secondary perception, we can then build associations of specific instances that bring forth joy or significance in normal exchanges. Through these associations, we can then create more moments that are in alignment with what we are seeking that gives our existence purpose.
By creating days with at least one of these meaningful experiences in all elements of our life- family, social, hobbies, spirituality, romantic endeavors, or self-growth- we begin to see that what we are contributing IS enough. Who we are IS enough. What we have to give IS enough.