General Musings

How Would You Define Yourself?

February 6, 2015
How do you define yourself?

How do you define yourself?

Do you ever think about how your define who you are?

This past month or so I have had to define myself a lot. I’ve had to create a “profile” for my CV, explain my skills on job applications forms, and express said skills in interviews. I’ve also had a journalist request a basic introduction to myself, and created both a vision and a mission for The Family Patch. Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg.

We define ourselves every day by the way we live our lives, and the things we believe about ourselves. We’re more than just the things we put on our CVs. But those things we do put out there in the world of employment and business hopefully reflect who we are deep inside.

Yesterday I attended an interview which I really enjoyed. I actually quite enjoy interviews anyway – blame it on the communicator in me, I love meeting new people no matter what the circumstances – but this one really stood out. The final question they asked particularly struck a chord:

“Imagine a few years down the line you wish to move on from employment here and I had to write a reference for you. What would you hope that I would put on it?”

Good question, hey?

Finding key words and phrases to describe the qualities I hope would shine out through my work was an interesting exercise and it got me to thinking… could I do the same thing for defining who I am as a person? So I had a go…

I’m a believer.

I don’t mean just in a religious or spiritual way, I mean I believe in the goodness of life. I believe in people – I trust people implicitly, even when they have given me no cause to trust them. This often turns around to bite me in the butt. And yet I continue to do so, it’s just who I am. I believe that everybody has the ability to be the best person that they can be (whatever that may mean to them), and that translates into an inability to suspect anything less.

I’m a supporter.

This follows on pretty much from the above – I believe that everybody has the ability to be the best person they can be, and I will support them to become the best they can be no matter what. If you look at my CV it is littered with roles which have a support element: volunteer, child carer, student support worker, information assistant, PA, team leader, manager… I thrive in any environment where I can focus on enabling others to reach their potential. Sometimes this is through leadership, other times it is through taking care of the basics so that others can focus on the bigger things (my very favourite jobs are those which combine the two).

I’m a dreamer.

I dream big things, perhaps sometimes a little too big! But I’m also a do-er. If I get an idea in my head, I cannot sit still until I have had chance to do something towards making it happen. Whether it’s jumping straight in and having a go, or throwing myself into researching my options, I just have to get going. Take my book, for example –  who on earth decides to write a book on a medical condition when they have a 3 month old baby to care for and no medical background from which to work from? That would be me, the dreamer. But also the do-er, who took no time in seeking out help and advice from those who did have a medical (or research) background, so that I could access the relevant information and check I had understood and relayed it correctly in the book.

I’m going to stop there, because it’s been quite difficult defining myself in just a few key words. And I think that’s what I’ve learned from this whole thing… we are such complex beings, with so many aspects to us, that defining ourselves can be pretty tricky! But it’s still fun to try.

There are so very many ways in which we could define ourselves. It could be how we look. It could be the genre of books and movies we like. It could be the food we eat, the place we grew up in, or the cultural traditions we uphold. I chose to focus on themes that seem to run throughout most of the things I do, but what would you choose? 

Leave me a comment and let me know how you’d define yourself, I’d love to hear from you!

  • Reply
    The Reading Residence
    February 7, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Great question. I used to consider myself to be defined by my career as it was who I was and took up so much of my time and energy. And then I had my daughter and resigned, and once the initial motherhood fog cleared, I struggled to redefine myself. But now, now I embrace it and love the thought that I can be whatever I want to be and I needn’t be defined by any one thing. It makes life interesting!

    • Reply
      February 8, 2015 at 9:02 am

      Thank you for popping by and leaving a comment. It’s definitely difficult to redefine ourselves, isn’t it? I love the fact that you now embrace the fact you can be whatever you want to be – what a great idea to live by! 🙂

  • Reply
    Ross Mountney
    February 8, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Really liked this and it’s a subject that’s fascinated me over recent years as without work outside the house, when you become mums, I notice some women find it hard not having that work label attached! I love your other definitions! As a mum, then home educating mum, I didn’t have a label for ages and it seemed others were more uncomfortable with that then me! It made me realise how people hang their identities on their work rather than other more valuable attributes you mention above. Now I’m writing books I could use that identity but actually I’ve grown to the point I don’t need one – it’s just others who need one to describe me! I’m having none of it!!! 🙂

    • Reply
      February 8, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Thanks for popping over and for your very thoughtful comment! Yes, it can be so difficult to *redefine* ourselves when we have held onto a label for such a long time. I often think this is actually one of the hardest things of being a teenager too – you are no longer a “child” but not quite an “adult” and people find it hard to balance that out I think, it takes some time to figure out who you are and begin defining yourself! Becoming a mother is another major life change which throws you into new waters. I love the fact that you don’t need to identify yourself by such labels 🙂

  • Reply
    February 9, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I think we all defy definition in many ways: you said it yourself, a few terms just won’t do! And you won’t fall into many people’s expectations of the terms you do use as you have an individual view on what they mean to you.

    I’d probably go with aspirant: I aspire to do things and try my best to make them happen. Like your dreamer 🙂

    And nonconformist: I don’t conform fully to any societal norms, aberrant subcultures or anything in between! That’s probably my best descriptor XD

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