By our resident coach, Arti Kashyap-Aynsley aka. The Wellness Chief
Identity /ʌɪˈdɛntɪti/ - The fact of being who or what a person or thing is.
Identity as a word, definition and thing always has come across to me as though there is a finality attached to it. As though how we identify ourselves is stagnate, not meant to evolve and therefore forever and always creating a struggle for us as we move through the many phases of our lives, like we are constantly trying to fit a moving box into a circle and / or vice versa.
Am I alone in this? And / or preaching to a choir of people out there?
My whole life I identified myself as an academic, someone that was smart, studious and therefore able to work hard and progress through life. It is also likely why 95% of my identity for the past 15 plus years has been strongly associated with my career and what I do in all aspects of my multi-hyphenated lifestyle. But since finding out that I (and my husband) am expecting my (our) first child, I have been experiencing this constant battle between who I am becoming and who I have always seen myself as. With a slew of questions therefore, being created in my mind –
How can I safely step out of the life that is ultimately who I associate myself with and into a zone so far out of any comfort area I have ever known before? And do I have to? Can’t I do both, without any breaks, blips or notices of being gone or changing? Will I survive?
At work I found myself holding onto to not telling anyone I was expecting for as long as I possibly could and now that it is out there I have been in a struggle to keep myself relevant, constantly on top of everything and as involved as possible to ensure people remember who I am first, a strong and focused leader in a fast paced ever changing business and industry vs. looking at me as only a bump about to exit the business who may never return – I mean just look at the survival rate of working moms in large corporate environments (an obvious statistic I would like to break).
All the while I am then also full of guilt for not really taking hold of the journey I am actually on and embracing it for all its magic, opportunity and growth – which is everything I usually preach about to everyone. You know enjoy and embrace the journey, roll with the punches, and grab hold of it for what it is.
But as I reflect on what I am experiencing, I am recognising that my struggle with identity is only one of the many struggles out there in this respect.
I mean we all have to struggle with this at some point don’t we? Whether it is moving through a life milestone, a change in career, an illness, weight loss or gain, an abrupt change of sorts that life throws our way, a period of redefinition, an addition to our portfolio lifestyles, and the list goes on.
So how do we get through it? How do we battle through our identities, allow ourselves to accept and grab hold of the changes and emerge as Madonna has in all of her many evolutions and reinventions?
By understanding the one thing that only came to me today as I flicked through Instagram in an effort to find some inspiration – that our identities like Madonna’s are constantly evolving and therefore are not stagnate, not meant to stay still and not meant to hold us back from whom we really are and whom we are becoming in all aspects of what that may look like.
We don’t have to be defined by the things that don’t serve us and we can choose to add or discard what we want from how we identify ourselves because it is ultimately up to us as individuals. And once we accept that and come to terms with our views and opinions, we can boldly walk into the world and have them see us how we want until we decide we want to evolve further, in which case we just do it all again.
I mean ultimately we are the ones holding the only say that matters when it comes to agreeing with whom we are, am I right?
As for me on my journey, the post that I came across that sparked my sudden head turn was from Women’s Health UK, where they quoted an interview they did with Frankie Bridge on her views on her pregnancy. Her words exactly – “But I quickly learned that it wasn’t about going back to the old me, it was about trying to embrace the new me.”
So here goes walking into this week and this world with a new outlook on who I am becoming and taking notice that while I am a coach as part of my multi-hyphenated lifestyle, I am still a constant work in progress, evolving and changing right alongside everyone else in this incredible community.
So thank you for letting me reflect and hold this weeks’ space.
I am keen to keep these posts and my role for ladies who launch supportive, interesting and fluid, so would love to hear what is on your mind, what is going on and what questions you could be grappling with. Please feel free to reach out directly to me either on the socials or email @ email@example.com, with anything on your mind - I am always up for a chat.
Have a blessed week
Arti aka. The Wellness Chief xx