I know I’m not the only one who struggles with defining herself as something OTHER than her many roles. Shouldn’t self-definition come from within? Shouldn’t we identity ourselves based on who we are INSIDE – our real, organic self, and not some self we dress up and perform for others?

Why is this so hard?

Why do so many of us care so much about the image — or identity — we portray to others? And why is it so hard to remove our masks, and accept who we truly are? Perhaps its because after so much time “portraying”, we ourselves come to believe that is exactly who we are, forgetting (or ignoring) the tiny voice inside us screaming to be heard; the voice that is shouting truths about our real passions and inner-workings. Or maybe for some, the mask and the voice DO match? Perhaps those are the happy ones, living congruently, being exactly who they are meant to be?

As I think about this, I realize it’s a dilemma – for me, of course, but also for others. My time in the mental health field has also shown me this is true. People suffer from depression and anxiety (I raise my own hand here) when the identity(ies) they portray (and, consequently, life they live) is incongruous with what they think others expect of them, and who they genuinely want to be.

I don’t have an answer in this regard, except to remind others–and myself–to say “screw it.” Short of being a terrible human who doesn’t think about others or society, screw who and what others think you OUGHT to be, and just be. JUST BE. Be you – 100% authentically you.

Today I can’t be defined by just one thing: I’m passionate, sensitive, emotional, a ponderer, empathetic. I’m a mama, writer, editor, lover of psychology and mental health. I’m an exercise AND sugar fanatic. I’m this, that and many things in between. I am most definitely a work-in-progress, and I am okay with that.

What about you?

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