I'M BASICALLY THE BACKSTREET BOYS. I DON'T CARE WHERE YOU'RE FROM OR WHAT YOU DID.
How do you describe yourself?
Do you start with what you do? Who you’re with? Or where you’re from?
It’s not the easiest question to answer.
I was chatting to the beautiful girls from The Own It Project this week and we got onto the topic of being defined by what you do. I never realised how passionate I was about this subject! I believe its a game changer when it comes to living a fulfilled life.
I’m a huge champion for building up a high level of self-worth. (This is closely linked to self-love, which I talked about last week) When we know we are worthy of the very best in life - regardless of what we do, what we look like, or who we’re dating - our lives dramatically change.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an athlete, a business woman, or a high school student. Your worth as a person is not dependent on how successful you are at your chosen profession. Nor is it dependent on how rich your boyfriend is or how skinny and beautiful you are. Each of these things can change in an instant. And then what? Yeah, it’s not pretty.
I’m not easily impressed when people tell me what they do. Even less so if they tell me about someone else and how successful they are. I want to know what they are like as a person. What makes them tick? Are they kind? Do they look out for others? Do they use their success for good?
Success is completely irrelevant if you have to achieve it by being an arsehole. That, to me, is not success.
What is the point in being the best athlete in the world if you cheat your way there and destroy every relationship in the process? Why work to be the most successful business woman and have only money to show for it? Why get straight A’s at school but learn nothing about life, because you weren’t out there experiencing it?
There are countless examples showing us that attaining success doesn’t lead to fulfilment. (A couple of musicians, movie stars and athletes come to mind!) So why do we strive for this, as if it’s the answer to everything?
I believe that we can enjoy our lives a hell of a lot more when we're not so caught up in what people think of us. ‘Those’ people (who are they anyway?!) don’t actually know what makes us feel good. Yet we let their opinion of us dictate how we live our lives. It's a bit silly, isn’t it?
When I was playing netball, I never thought of myself as a Netballer. It was just something else I did. When things were going well for me, I didn't get caught up in my own hype. I was just a person playing netball, not a netballer being a person.
It’s weird when we swap that terminology around. It highlights the craziness of getting wrapped up in what we do.
Are you a business woman? A teacher? A mum? A student? Does your happiness and self-worth depend on how well you are ‘succeeding’ at your job? You are NOT what you do. You are a person doing that job, not a job who is also being a person.
If my business is a huge success, that’s awesome. If it’s not, that’s cool. It’s not who I am. It’s what I do.
I can't stress this enough.
Similarly, I have a loving relationship with the handsome Tom. This is amazing and I am very fortunate, but I am not defined by our relationship. I was happy before we met, and so was he. And we would be fine apart. (I hope that NEVER happens!) He is an incredible part of my life, but I am worth just as much value to the world alone, as I am in a couple. Single people are not worth less because they are single.
As many of you know, I have recently retired from playing Netball professionally. For many athletes, retirement from elite sport can be the most challenging time in their lives. There are countless stories of depression, drug abuse and erratic behaviour. I believe a lot of this comes down to not knowing who you are without your sport or status as an athlete.
We can substitute this into any job title.
I have been very fortunate that I have transitioned through this time with ease. I always knew that I was more than a netballer. I am so thankful for the way I was raised and the beautiful group of friends I have. My family didn’t care if I played, my friends weren’t phased by it, and my boyfriend loves me regardless of what I do – they all just want me to be happy! Being a netballer didn’t make me a better or worse person. It just meant I spent my time in a different way. I am conscious to carry the same attitude into my work with Cleverhand.
Keeping a high self-worth also allows us a huge sense of freedom. When we are not defined by what we do/where we live/what we look like, we are free to change! When we outgrow something, we can move on gracefully. If we change our mind, it’s not a problem because we weren’t defined by that thing in the first place. It’s liberating!
Think about it - if we're not defined or attached to our external identity, we are free to do the following:
- Cut off our hair
- Lose weight or gain weight
- End a relationship that isn't fulfilling
- Leave a job that is making us miserable
- Grow old without fear that we'll become 'invisible'
- Earn more money, earn less money, live off of one income.
- Move interstate or overseas
We can do any of these things (and WAY more!) without the fear of what others think. None of these things need to affect how we feel about ourselves. What are you currently holding back from, because you don't know who you are without it?
Your truth as a human is not what you do. It’s who you are. Let’s work on becoming the best person we can be, not the best ‘whatever we do’.
This way, when we are a huge success we won’t become an ego-maniac who thinks they’re the best thing since sliced bread. Or, if we lose our jobs/looks/identity, we will still have confidence because it never defined us in the first place. We have so much more to offer the world than what you can see.
Let’s start describing ourselves as people first. I'll go first - I am a kind person, who loves to help others. I aim to do my best in everything I do. I am a work in progress and I love this, because it means that I am constantly growing and evolving. I love smiling (even if my frown lines disagree) and I aim to make everyone I meet feel comfortable and good about themselves.
You are who you choose to be. I don’t care what you do, I care who you are. And I have a strong feeling that you are pretty bloody great.
- Emily x
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