The Apprentice: Who am I really?
By Kizzy Katawonga:
“You know, if you were to take away my wife and daughter, I don't think I know who I am”
A dear friend and I were enjoying some open and raw thoughts; the words came pouring out unbidden. We didn't get into it much more than that as some distraction or other took our attention off the subject. It was only later as I spoke to my wife that the gravity of my words hit me and shook me to the very core.
In a nutshell, it would seem my identity and self-esteem are heavily invested in other peoples opinion of me. What they think of me is key and I will usually do everything in my power to maintain a good opinion of others. This is usually manifested in keeping the peace, always deferring to other peoples beliefs and principles, avoiding confrontation and such other things.
The challenge is that in the absence of these key people, I can't readily tell you who I am. I mean I can tell you what you want to hear or what is expected of me. But I can't really tell you who I am.
And that scares me. A lot!
Why you may ask? Well because it means I have no real foundation for who I am or profess to be. Everything is built on shifting sand. The choices I've made, the relationships I've fostered, the career path I've followed, the faith I profess; what is it all built on?
More importantly, how did I get so far in life with this mess? Sheer luck is the likely answer but it clearly has come to a grinding halt. Perhaps the numerous challenges I've been facing lately are the ones that have indiscriminately illuminated the glaring holes in my identity. As the good Lord said, “…is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great”
So now I find myself in the scary place of having to discover who I am, underneath it all. I have to ask tough questions like, what do I really believe? What do I really stand for? What do I really like? What are my principles? What are my dreams and goals? Why do I do the things I do? I have to get to a place of almost complete self-centeredness to answer all these questions and others that will arise. How else can I get truthful answers if I'm constantly thinking of what other people will say or expect or want? I must cast aside all preconceptions and get into a place of deep self-study and revelation.
I know God created me as a unique and awesome individual with an even greater purpose and destiny in the grand scheme of things. However, I've not felt anywhere close to unique or awesome for as long as I can remember. On the contrary, I've constantly felt the pressure to comply, to live up to various expectations and standards set by others. I feel exhausted and unhappy with my life.
I MUST find my unique self, my singular identity, the one God created in me with meticulous care and foresight; knowing full well it would be necessary for the massive dent in the universe that I am supposed to create. I can't be a leaf blown about in the wind, with no control over my course or reach.