Sorry to leave you all hanging last week. My life was chaos, and with that chaos came some good learnings as well as the question – what makes me, me? At the time, it probably wasn’t such a polite question more along the lines of “WTF am I doing with my life?!” I’ve long been obsessed with working out what my life purpose is – convinced in all my ego’s glory that surely I’m here for something important!!!
Lately I’ve become aware that I am quite attached to my job title, last week the impermanence of my job title hit me because in fact in a few short weeks the rightful owner of the job title will return. I remember thinking well if I’m not *insert job title* then who am I? Does not having a specific job title make me less important to our team; does it make the work I do any less valuable? This was my panicked thought process, completely irrational in retrospect. When I started my job 2 years ago I was determined to take a leaf out of Robin Sharma’s book (The Leader Who Had No Title); showing up as the best version of myself without needing the job title to validate myself. Somewhere I seem to have lost that humility.
A friend who I work with was having a similar-ish moment at work and raised the point that – generally speaking – (maybe more so in rural and regional Australia) women at our age (20 + 11), have started to have children and as such being a mother then gives them an additional outlet or purpose for their life rather than just their job. This was an interesting thing to hear because as someone who is single, I often looked at my married friends and thought their life was easier because at least outside of work they had their person. So to hear someone who has their person, still be so frustrated with their job was interesting and of course the age old adage of “the grass is always greener” fitted perfectly.
But it made me think – if I am not my job title, or my relationship status – which is often how we introduce ourselves and others depending on the situation (i.e. This is Teala she’s a Physio or this is my Mum Anne) then who am I? Yes, I am still Teala who is a Physio but I mean are we defined solely by our job title, our relationship connections, our hobbies, our sports or interests or is there more to us than that? Who are we at our very core? What is the fabric that makes up our soul?
From my endless reading in the self-help or personal development realms I’m learning that ego is what is at the crux of what makes us so keen to identify ourselves as our titles or achievements. Certainly society conditions us to want to achieve certain titles for ourselves. I’ve no doubt this is an affliction that does not discriminate between the genders with the stereotype expectations of men to be the breadwinners, perfect partners and fathers; women to be the perfect partner and mother, as well as career driven and independent (some expectations are clearly contradictory), but is there any wonder that mental health problems are so rife in today’s society?
Eckhart Tolle talks here much more eloquently than I ever could about his personal awakening and his views on the gradual awakening of society. The part I liked the most was his response to the question about purpose specifically outer purpose vs inner purpose:
“Tolle: Even if you achieve your outer purpose, it will never satisfy you if you haven’t found your inner purpose, which is awakening, being present, being in alignment with life. True power comes out of the presence; it is the presence.