Tag Archives: reflection

How do I identify myself?

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Why is it we so strongly identify ourselves from the perspective of our paid job? Yes, work is takes up the majority of waking hours but it is not what is really important to me. It is not what brings joy in my life.
So why do I let myself be defined by it in one breath, then try to escape from it as it doesn’t feel quite right or complete in the next?
This came up during a discussion with a friend recently about how when working as an accountant, I can be so organised, structured and manage my time and tasks. I can help clients with new software, business plans and business analysis but in regards to my own art designs, I totally baulk at committing to a business plan, costings, time allocation and even valuing my own time?
It is not that I can’t do it but I am finding it so difficult to do a mind-flip and accept that my art is a business and that is OK.
I have kept these two aspects of my life distinctly separate for so long it can’t see a way through.
My friend kept asking me what my fear was. It took a while to really understand what she meant. But it dawned on me that a major fear is leaving behind my identity of being an accountant. When people ask about what I do, I immediately answer I am an accountant. There are a variety of responses, some not very polite, but just saying it means I no longer need to justify my existence to them. I do not need to prove any further that I have some level of intelligence and worth to society. In contrast, if answer that I am a wife and a Mum or mention that I am an artist, I feel the judgement immediately. I feel the need to justify why I am a useful human being.
In chatting with my friend, I noticed how many times my internal conflicts came down to identifying myself and my skills as either an accountant or an artist. Most notably, how I constantly fought any aspect of being an accountant flowing over even the tiniest amount to being an artist. It is like a fear that my work will infect my enjoyment of my art.
This lead me to thinking more about how I see myself. To be honest, self reflection is essential to moving forward but it is a hell of a bumpy ride. Do I really see myself firstly as an accountant? Yes, I went to Uni and have a few sets of letters after my name, I have spent 2 decades in the industry, meeting some really interesting clients and businesses. But is that who I am? Is that what gets me up everyday? To be honest, no. Not now. Maybe not before either.
What does get me up everyday, makes me feel like a useful member of society and makes my heart sing is being a wife and a Mum and definitely being an artist.
So why do I let it my degree define me? Why do I feel not as worthy in other peoples eyes to be a wife, a Mum, an artist? That being an accountant is more important?
Having a degree is like having the proof that I have the right skills do the job. I have the skills but not the enjoyment or fulfilment.
I have no certified proof that I have the skills to be a wife or a Mum. Nor do I have a degree in visual arts to prove I have the skill set to call myself an artist. But these 3 things are what make happy, give my life meaning and get me out of bed everyday.
They should be as much if not more part of how I identify me to myself as well as to everyone else.
Getting past this mental block around this is going to take time but I need to do it to move forward and allow my art business to be all it can be.