I was writing an article the other day and made reference to something my mother says about me…”if you want something done right, get Cathy to do it.” Oh, how I wish I saw myself through my mother’s eyes!
Thinking about how my mother sees me and how I see myself started me ruminating over the fact that I became who I am today due in large part because of the way other people view me. Understand? Probably not!
Let me explain, when I divorced I was low on self-esteem and quite emotionally and financially dependent on my ex. I had no self-confidence and no idea what I was going to do WITH myself or how I was going to do FOR myself.
If I had listened to that nasty, little voice in my head that told me I was not resourceful I’m not sure where I would be today. Lucky me, though, I was surrounded by people and situations that guided me in finding my passion. I guess you could say I ended up doing with myself the things that had always been second nature, the things I couldn’t NOT do but had never taken the time to notice because those things were second nature to me.
What Others Saw In Me:
I used to write my ex emails during our separation, long, rambling emails about love, life, and relationships. The day he and I went to divorce court his attorney stopped me on the way out of court and said, “I hate to see this case come to an end, I’m going to miss those emails. You are a hell of a writer.” That shocked me because “writer” was not a word I would have ever used to describe myself.
About 18 months after my divorce was final my son asked, “Why does everyone have to come to you for advice?” He was upset because I had been on the phone with a troubled friend which kept him from using the phone to call his girlfriend. He was tired of his Mom being the one folks came to for help in solving a problem.
I’m the go-to person in my family when there is a problem to solve. It can be something as simple as a recipe for spinach dip to something as complicated as making a career choice. I was and always have been a helper and a caretaker, it is my natural role in life, one that I took and turned into a career.
Do you do something that is so natural for you that you don’t really notice that you do it?
Something that is so ingrained you are failing to appreciate it?
Something that others see in you, but you can’t see in yourself?
Maybe it is something that comes so naturally to you that you believe everyone else does it too?
That “something” that you are blind to, that others see and you don’t may be the path to you finding your “passion,” to you building a new career or simply the answer to who you are outside a marriage that has defined you as a person.
Below are a few questions that will help you reflect on what you’ve been told by others about yourself.
Questions that I hope will help you see who you are more clearly and open up opportunities for self-growth and finding your passion.
1. What kinds of things do people always ask you to help them with? Why do they ask you? You may have become known as “the” person to ask if someone needs help with this certain thing.
2. What were the subjects at school and/or college the easiest for you? Why? What subjects did you enjoy the most? What, if anything, did you find yourself helping others with?
3. If you were at a party and heard people having an animated discussion about a subject that you felt compelled to join in, what would they be talking about? Why would you feel compelled to join in?
4. What roles do you play in your family of origin, with your current family, with your friends? Which roles feel completely natural to you? Some examples are advisor, peacekeeper, leader, nurturer or anything else.
Once you’ve answered the questions, review your answers. What did you discover about yourself? Hopefully, something that will help you get one step closer to following your passions!