Typical introductions in the United States begin with two questions: 1) What is your name? 2) What do you do?
Somewhere in our evolvement, we forged a false belief that our jobs, positions, and titles define who we are. We have come to believe that our income-based work defines our existence. Do not get me wrong…I appreciate the pleasures of a consistent cash flow. However, if I did work that I do not love, yet earned millions of dollars doing the work, then I would not be happy. The essence of who I am, and my purpose are far more important to me than society’s views of financial wealth. Without a doubt, I do feel very grateful because I earn an income while also doing an action that is in alignment with the core of who I am—A loving, giving, healing Being.
As a therapist, I am required to obtain continuing education credits to stay on top of latest theories, techniques, and trends. I recently went to an out-of-town training and met a very interesting person. He was an “elderly” man, approximately in his late 60’s. He told me that he was a part of the original movement in the psychology field. He talked at length, sharing his views about the ways the field has changed. He blatantly told me that it has transformed from men using scientific techniques into “housewives needing a hobby”. He expressed that he felt like “touchy-feely” stuff was just a fad and the mental health field must return to “hard science and assessments”. This gentleman also shared that he had read all the latest books, had the latest information, and he essentially came to the workshop in order to correct the presenter. He even said that he was known for his extra knowledge and challenging questions at trainings. I noticed that his conversations with everyone revolved around the profession. Even the guys he called long-time personal friends appeared to only be able to acknowledge the profession with him, but they talked about their personal lives as well. It was interesting and insightful at the same time.
I took no offense to anything that he said. I actually sat and began thinking about the positives of my contact with him. He was definitely passionate about the field and clearly had decades of experience, but I kept getting an underlying sense of emptiness from him. He seemed like he had to work so hard just to maintain an image. Many questions came to my mind such as: Who is he other than this work? Does he have anyone he calls family or loved ones? What does he do for fun? What was his life like during the generation that he grew up in? What is he telling me about myself?
Honestly, in some ways I could relate to him. In the past, I felt like I had to make straight A’s in school and that everyone had to like me. When I tried to share advice with friends, I was perceived as a know-it-all, even when it was not my intention. I also felt like I had to be one step ahead just so I could fit in.
These perceptions were all false. Being truthful to myself, I can admit that:
1) I like work that is challenging and rewarding, yet I don’t care for grades.
2) I know that some people will not like me, no matter how I act, and that is okay.
3) I only express my opinion when my heart leads me to do so, and I allow the words to come out however they come–which usually is with conviction.
4) I honestly like being laid-back and might even seem lazy or uncaring at times because stressing out is overrated to me.
5) These traits are part of who I Am, and I am okay with them.
Seeing this man helped me to see how much I have grown. I empathized with him as well, and desired for him to see his value no matter how much he knows about the profession.
I wonder if that older gentleman would be able to say that he is okay with who he is…even if no one else ever said anything.
Who and what have you allowed to define you?
Know this Truth:
You are Not what you do. You Are valuable and unique as You Are. You Are a Powerful and Divine Spirit that expresses Itself through you–simply because You Exist.
Live Freely as Yourself.