No seriously, who are you? Do you know? As a Holistic Therapist this question comes up often in therapy. People start to question who they have become, and they don’t seem to recognize who they
see in the mirror.
They say statements like:
“I feel like I am just going from one task to another without much thought," “I’m not sure I enjoy my day-to-day, but rather I am just doing what I am supposed to be doing," and “I feel disconnected from myself, and I rarely feel like I am accomplishing something meaningful.” Does any of this sound familiar?
In the world we live in, we are taught either directly or indirectly that in order to be happy we have to accomplish tasks. Think about it. You learn in school to "get" good grades so that you can go to college
and then get a "good" job. So many of us end up in careers based on income rather than our true interests.
An example of this in early development is when a child is being praised and/or paid for making good grades, but not celebrated or recognized with the same intensity when they show kindness to a new friend or write a new song about their favorite food. Children learn at an early age that being validated by others through accomplishments is valued. Those accomplishments are then tied to their self-worth and how they value themselves.
The problem with relying on others for your self-worth is that you are always at the mercy of how they see you. This becomes a problem when you are part of a marginalized community. People’s unconscious bias often play a role in how they evaluate you, thus affecting your accomplishments.
Take an athlete, for example. They are often praised and elevated to a high status when they are performing well, but once they stop performing, they are disregarded. The athlete then struggles with their self-worth because their whole identity was based in what they could
do, rather than who they were, which leads us back to: Who are you?
Many adults struggle with this question, so I have a few journal prompts to help get you thinking:
- How would you describe yourself?
- Do you feel connected to that description?
- Is your self-esteem tied to your status in life or your accomplishments?
- Who were you before your worth was tied to your productivity?
- What brought you joy when you were younger?
- Do you have similar joy experiences today?
Bonus questions to work on purpose in life:
- Why are you on this earth? Is it more than one purpose or a multitude of things?
- How did you feel in your body when you read the question above? Describe your feelings.