Life Outside the Roles

This week was interesting. One of my closest friends reached out to me for a status update on my social media-less life. She was the fifth person to text me and ask “How are you?” I responded to her message the same way I did to the others because they were all people who KNOW me – I’m not well and my life feels like it’s in shambles but I’m working one day at a time to find peace and joy. 

I could sense my friend’s troubles through the text message, so I threw the question back to her in hopes of an honest response. She spilled her innermost thoughts to me and revealed that although she seems to have it together as a mom, wife, employee, etc., she felt waves of unhappiness. She was unfulfilled and had stuffed her feelings away from friends and family. Like me, she was stressed and on the verge of breaking into pieces. We spent the next hour taking with each other and finding comfort in our mutual feelings. 

She wanted to know what I thought and I only had one piece of advice for her – find a way to define yourself outside of your relationship with other people or what you do for a living. This is the most efficient path towards feeling “whole” as an individual. Most people answer the “who are you?” question with their roles in life – mom/dad, sister, wife, etc. but those titles have nothing to do with who you are and focuses on what you are to other people. The same goes for a job title – it’s what you do, but it doesn’t define the rich, complex, and brilliant essence of your life. When I said this to her, I was talking to myself as well. 

I have the same roles as my friend – mom, sister, daughter, and wife. I work in banking during the day and I write at night. But my life is more than my roles. I am the sum of my beliefs, quirks, dislikes, private thoughts, and passions. I’m a continuously evolving combination of energy, light, love, darkness, and confusion yet I’m always and forever me. And being me is enough. I will continue to seek an adequate answer to define myself and it will change as I gather new information and experiences. Right now, I’m diving into The Four Agreements and my definition of self might shift after I complete the book 😊

Who are you? It’s a challenging question with no right answer. I hope you ponder on it this week. Live well and I’ll “see” you on Wednesday 💕
-Tai Gooden 

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