When we’re single and kid-less, we know who we are. We have an identity that is ours alone. When we start forming and growing our families, our identity can often shift. We may decide to become a Mrs. instead of a Ms. when we get married. After I had kids, I became known at home as Mommy, or “Luis and Oliver’s Mom” among my children’s friends.
Taking on a new identity is a beautiful part of life, as long as we don’t forget our original identities. Even after we become wives and moms, we are still our own selves. We have needs, wants, goals, and dreams and only we can fulfill those. Meeting your own needs simply cannot be outsourced: you and you alone are responsible for that.
In order to meet your own needs and fulfill your own goals, you need to know who you are and what you want for your life. In other words, you need to have your own identity. Without a clear identity, there is no way you’re going to be able to meet your own needs. This is especially true because the identities of wife and mother are typically focused on giving to others. In order to meet your own needs, you’re going to have remember who you are apart from being a wife and mother.
Remembering Who You Are
One of the reasons that we love to embrace our new identities as wives and mothers is that it feels wonderful to be loved and “needed” by others. In reality, other people actually can’t “make” you feel loved or needed—you create those feelings by your thoughts about what other people do. But if you start to believe that you need others to “make” you feel happy, loved, or needed, then you start to lose yourself. It’s difficult to know who you really are when you are depending on external circumstances to provide your fulfillment.
Part of remembering who you are is knowing that you can provide yourself with everything. If you really and truly believe that, then you are free to identify:
- what you want
- what you need, and
- how you want to show up in the world.
Once you know those three things, you’ve defined your identity.
Being Your Authentic Self
Once you know your identity, the next step is learning how to live it out and take responsibility for getting what you want, getting what you need, and showing up as the person you want to be.
Do you want to feel accepted? Start working on creating the feeling of acceptance for yourself by looking at your thoughts. Thoughts like “I’m not enough” will create the opposite feeling and keep you in a state of depending on others to validate you.
Once you identify the thoughts that are holding you back, question them. Why are you choosing to think those thoughts when they are clearly not serving you?
Try on the opposite thought for size: What if you are already enough, just as you are? Thinking and believing “I am already enough” creates the feeling of self-acceptance for many people. What thought would create that feeling for you?
Do you want to feel loved? Start by loving yourself first. Try on the thought “I am 100% loveable because I’m human.” You would not have trouble believing that about a newborn baby, right? It was true about you the day you were born and it’s still true today. Why would you choose to believe anything else?
Once you know that you are whole and enough just as you are, you become free to show up as you really want to show up. You become free to be your authentic self.
And when you do that, I promise that you will also show up as a happier wife, mother, professional, etc. Know yourself first and watch the magic happen.
Have a beautiful day!
Go forth, grow, and bloom.
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