When You Strip the Labels off, What is Left?

May 28, 2014

As women, I think we tend to define ourselves with labels.  We call ourselves "wife", "mother", "friend", "committee chair", "attorney","doctor", "designer", "artist", "pharmacist", "teacher", or any of the rest of the labels that we stick on our shirts as the years keep speeding by us.  We start out being someone's daughter, and for a glimmer in our twenties and thirties, we are our own person- until many of us become someone's girlfriend, fiance' and then wife.  Then, we become someone's mother. We are proud of these label's- Jim's wife, Sarah's mother- and rightly so, but we have to be careful not to be defined by these labels and wrap our entire identity around them.
How often do we hear a friend say "somewhere along the way, I just lost myself" when discussing a failed marriage or business?  I think we all do that to an extent when we truly care because we want to make a difference in the lives of those we love and the careers that we love.
What happens when we close our business, when we retire, when the people we worked so hard to please and love are no longer in our lives?  Who are we then?  When you start peeling off the labels, and are stripped down to just a gal in a plain t-shirt, who are you?  What do you want to do or accomplish?  What do you like?  Do you even know anymore?
I challenge you today to pull of the labels until you get down to the t-shirt.  What would you do if you could do anything you want? When you wake up every day, do you feel content on your journey?  I remember as a child when things were difficult my mother would say to me "sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do, because that is what you have to do."  I realized then that we had fundamental differences in our philosophies of living.
I remember at age eleven saying "If it sucks, why don't you find a different way to do that? Why do you continue to do things you don't like?!  When I grow up, I won't do that."  Starting today, I am taking the advice of my eleven year old enlightened self and Deepak Chopra's advice by asking the following three questions:
1.  Am I having fun?
2.  Am I seeing results?
3.  Is it easy?

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