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Are We Really Who We Think We Are?

I like to think of myself as an artist. It is, after all, what has meaning in my life.

But I am NOT a fan of nouns.

Nouns such as: Artist. Painter. Writer. Etc.

The reason why is when we refer to ourselves as a “noun”, we create a solid, fixed sense of self. There’s no room for adjustability, fluidity or curiosity.

If we aren’t making money at it or haven’t received accolades for it (instead of an avocation) we think we aren’t REALLY doing it.

Or we DO make money at it, and then our sense of self is determined by the jobs we have or how much we’ve sold.

Can you see how this can entrap us? How we lose our freedom?

It’s natural to identify ourselves as a “noun”. Some of us like having titles because it shows our accomplishments.

But is this the only way to perceive ourselves? Are we really ONLY that?

When we meet someone at a social event, the question usually asked is, what do you do?

What do you do? leads to an answer in a noun form. Like I’d have to say, I’m a painter and a writer.

But how I reply is always in the verb form, I paint and write.

Why is that important to me?

Because self-identification locks me into certain role. It snubs out permission to be more.

Without our self-definitions, we think we’re NOBODY. We think we have no distinctiveness. And that’s an illusion — far from reality.

I mean, let’s face it, 9 times out of 10 when we’re asked What do you do? what we’re really being asked is, How do you pay your bills?

When I’m at a social event, I ask, What do you love?

That leads to a VERB.

They might say, I love . . .
. . . working with my hands.
. . . helping out at the shelter.
. . . travelling.
. . . playing mah jong.

Whenever I ask that question, the person’s face lights up. Conversation takes off. We’re connecting because he or she feels seen. And that’s because they’re free the be ANYTHING.

THE POINT:

We’re not human doings. We’re human beings.

What we love is changeable and malleable. At any given time, our passions, work and interests change. We’re always evolving.

We’re also not limited to just one thing. We get to be ALL of it.

It’s not just a party trick I’m getting at here. It’s a different point of view.

Think about how you identify yourself. Not just your vocations or avocations, but who you believe you are based on your past, feelings, degrees, possessions, ideas, etc.

Has that ensnared you in a certain way of thinking? How might that way of seeing yourself affect your totality? Are you allowing for ALL of life to work through you?

Wishing you a week free of limitation!

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Lynn Newman