As I stand here in my kitchen in a house full of kids running around with their friends, grabbing on to the last days of summer, and creating worlds from their imagination, I realize just how much my life has changed since the last time I thought about this "self definition" question. And it makes me know even more than ever that there are so many parts of our life, our spirit, our goals, personality, reactions, family, etc. that make us who we are. So many things fill our reality but it is up to us to choose what we do with these things...how we will react to them, use them, and grow from them. We define ourselves and we have the power to change our "self definitions" over time. We hold the power to make our life a life that reflects the way we want to be defined.
What defines me? If I were to try to "define" myself? Here are some very rough, very raw, off the cuff, "think out louds" on this...the bones of building this "self definition"..not because I think we should try to define ourselves necessarily, or because I feel the need to define myself, but just because I think it is an interesting exercise of self reflection. This exercise in self-definition requires taking a close look at ourselves.
- I'm hard on myself for the mistakes I make in life...as a parent, a wife, a friend...this defines me as a person that strives to be the very best that I can be. This defines me as a person that doesn't settle for just "getting by in life" but sets the bar high.
- I have never truly been able to push myself to pain when I run...by choice. I've never been able to race to the point where I let it all go and see what I'm truly capable of. This defines me as a person that might be scared of failure.
- I can be overly sensitive to how I come across to my friends and family. I worry about whether I offended them with something I said, rubbed them the wrong way, was too much energy, etc. This defines me as a person that cares what others think but not out of trying to be what they want me to be. More out of being sensitive to how I come across to other and how I make others feel when they are around me.
- I find myself reacting easily as a parent and not tolerating their poor choices as much as I maybe should. I find myself being very hard on them and sometimes expecting them to meet standards that just might not always be easy to meet. This defines me as a parent that wants great things for her children. A parent that believes that there is always something to work towards. At the same time, it can define me as someone that needs to work on patience and grace.
- My relationship with my husband defines me as someone who loves deeply and passionately. As a person that values strong relationships.
- Coming back from injury stronger than before defines me as a person that doesn't surrender. It defines me as a person that is goal driven and determined.
- Becoming a mother, teaching, running and using my love for writing defines me as a person that holds her passions as important and worthy of honoring and pursuing.
- There are still things in my life that people close to me have done or said to me that hurt me deeply if I think about them. This might define me as a person who values loyalty and putting relationships as a high priority in life. It also might define me as a person that needs resolution and verbal/written communication to move on with things.
- Just the fact that I would even write a post like this defines me as a person who values self-reflection. I see self-reflection as a most important part of my life in helping me grow and continue to make my life the way I want it to be. It is a stepping-stone to DEFINING myself the way I want my Self-Definition to be.
I could go on and on with this exercise....I could fill pages and page full of the parts of my core that work towards my self-definion. For now, I'm done but I plan to return to this exercise some more over the next month or so as I reflect on how I want to be defined.
So, what about you? Will you join me in this reflective exercise of self-definement? What is one aspect of you, your life, your core, that "Defines" you? What is a "self defining" statement for you?
I _____________________________________. This might define me as ____________________.