Last week during one of my SheShatters coaching sessions, I held space for a woman who is in the throughs of finding herself. As our session ended, I thought back to one of the first times I heard this question asked: “Who are you?” It was the caterpillar in Alice and Wonderland asking Alice the question. Alice responded, “I don’t know- I remember who I was when I woke up this morning, but I think I’ve changed a great deal since then” (Carroll, L. (2018). Alice in Wonderland. Wordsworth Editions).
As we approach mid-life this is a common question that bubbles up. So many individuals struggle to answer it. Why? Because as Alice summarized: life gets in the way. Somewhere along our hectic, messy, devastating, exhilarating lives we forget to ask ourselves: “Does this decision align with who I am at my core? What do I really want?” We focus instead on the external forces in our lives and neglect the internal ones.
Struggling with answering this question as well? Here are steps you can take to help you unlock the answer:
Start with what you know – Grab a piece of paper and a pen. On the top of the page write: “Who I am and What I love.” You are going to craft a personal mosaic. Think about all facets of you-who you are at work, home, your community. Ex: ‘I am adventurous, I love to explore.’ Write down as many things as you can. Exhaust the list.
Eliminate – Reflect on the ‘SHOULD’s’ in your life. Make a list of things you are compromising on that do not align with your personal mosaic. Try to eliminate the ‘SHOULD’s’ if you can.
Explore – Often we feel lost because we are bored with our lives. We have stopped exploring. Take an hour each week to explore one of the statements you wrote in your personal mosaic. If you wrote “I am adventurous” but you are watching TV every night-research a rock gym, dance class, outdoor club you could join.
When you focus on behaviors, activities that truly align with what you want and eliminate the “should”- you will discover that the answer to who you are has been inside you all along-the key was just to uncover it.
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