Changing Your Identify from Being Perfect to Ever-Evolving
Today Kendra Emanuel, member of the Nourishing Minds Tribe, is back on the blog to discuss her thoughts on changing your identify from being the perfect “fill in the blank” to ever-evolving in who you are. Enjoy!
Do you ever think to yourself that this is not where you expected to be at this age? Or do you look back and think wow, how did I end up here ? Or are you so busy with every role you occupy that you do not have time to take a step back and look from the outside in? As women, culture has created many roles we are supposed to play. Mother, wife, girlfriend, nutritionist, athlete, yogi, healer, best friend, daughter, keeper of the home, cleaner, chef, confidant, counselor, and so many more. And as women, we expect ourselves to fill these roles and do them with finesse and expertise. But is this truly serving us? Is this truly allowing us to be the most vibrant and healthiest versions of ourselves? I think not.
It is important to shed our identities as women and remove those labels we have placed on ourselves. Most times these roles and labels are self-fulfilling and your family and friends are actually more concerned with you as a person and how you are. No one actually looks at your carpet to see if it has been vacuumed, or behind the toilet to see if you washed the floor back there. No one sees or cares that the half hour of TV you allow your kids to watch is creeping up on over an hour. No ones can see the cookie you ate at the office, or that you skipped the gym yesterday. What people see is you, truly you. The smile, a happy you because you are being your true self. A happy you because you are tuning into what your body really needs and letting go of all labels and demanding expectations.
As a new mom, (well not-so-new now that my son is over a year and a half, cannot really use that excuse anymore!) and previous elite athlete I have carried a lot of strong identities that can be all-consuming and not healthy. As an elite athlete and distance runner my sole identity was as a runner. Each day was completely centered around training, my mood was dictated by how well a run or workout went, my value as a person was placed in race outcomes, and being injured was the holy grail that tipped your world on its head. Now, do not get me wrong, being an elite athlete takes hard work, dedication, commitment and it is an honor to represent your country at an event. What is not so good is when you place your entire well being and complete identity into that, allowing it to control everything about you. You miss out on the world going on around you and you do not truly appreciate many things because you are so fixated on your one focus. I had success, I enjoyed training, races were fun, I traveled and I made life-long friends. It was an amazing experience and I would not trade it, but placing so much emphasis on it and not allowing me to truly be me is sad.
Years of injury, forced time off and new jobs did enable me to slowly crawl out of that skin and begin to find myself. It was liberating. It was not until I was pregnant and had my son did I truly allow myself to truly let go off that identity and the awful feeling that I had failed because I did not achieve all of my goals as a runner. Then came the next identity, a mom. Yes your time is completely taken by your baby, your needs are put on the back burner and your health and well-being gets neglected. But this is not how it needs to be. You do not have to constantly be on the go, making meals, cleaning up, caring for your baby, providing for your toddler, being a great wife, fitting into pre pregnancy clothes, and achieving targets at work. You are allowed to relax, to take some time to yourself, delegate some tasks, and do not put pressure on yourself to be the perfect “______”. This is not healthy and this is not sustainable. Now over a year into this mom thing and having a changed identity, I know I must shed this identity, let go of the preconceived ideas of what should be and continue to allow myself to evolve and grow into myself as a unique individual.
Do you want to be known as happy, kind, energetic, and fun? Or stressed, anxious, rushed, and grumpy? We do not need to be the perfect mom, perfect wife, top employee, etc. This is exhausting and fills us with anxiety. Plus, who defines “perfect”? That is an ideal and expectation you put on yourself that is created by culture and media around us. Focus on letting go, not putting pressure on yourself to be a certain way or achieve certain things. Just be you. It may take some time and dedication to release the expectations and find yourself again, but it will be very worth it.
Please, do your family a favor, (it is always easier to do something for someone else than for yourself), take some time to yourself every week, even every day. Do what you want, do what makes your heart sing and what is truly you. Do not do yoga because you think you should, or read the new Oprahs Book Club novel because the other moms at the school are. Take that time to do whatever it is that makes you tick. And at the same time, delegate some items from your to do list. Ask your husband to wash the dishes, have your kids help put away the clothes, or do not even worry about those things and let them slide until next week.I promise, you will lighter, happier, more present and more yourself.
Thank you Kendra for your insight and for sharing it here!