In the last week, a lot has changed in my life. I’m entering new roles and responsibilities, negotiating changing relationships and managing the ripple effect this has. It’s tiring stuff! And I’ve found it very easy to slip into feelings of inadequacy, worrying that I’ll never be enough for all the people in my life.
I’m writing a book at the moment on Third Culture Kids and the identity challenges we face. The image I’m drawn to at the moment is that of a mirror. As TCKs we can grow so adaptable it’s as though we get caught spinning in circles holding tightly onto our mirror, reflecting all the demands that come whirling towards us. With practise, we learn to reflect back what is expected; just one expert flick of the wrist and we can juggle competing demands on our identities. But the stage shifts too, and the dance can become frantic as we whirl to keep up with the identity demands around us.
This week, I’ve been whirling. But I’ve also been repeating, ‘be yourself’ over and over. I’m not entirely sure what it means, for me. Do you know what it means for you? I find comfort it the phrase, however much it seems to be an additional question, rather than an answer. Who is ‘ourself’? And why be it, especially if it means slowing the dance, and ultimately risk disappointing someone?
Slowing the dance, and lowering the mirror… this is a risk. When we can’t been who others want or need us to be, that risks disappointment and rejection. To let them see us, the one behind the mirror, is one of the bravest and most beautiful acts of vulnerability. To recognise our limits is also to invest in our strengths. And perhaps there is an alternative to being a mirror?
Perhaps we can be a diamond.
The diamond is almost the perfect analogy of a confident identity. It is solid, and almost indestructible. It is beauty created under great stress. And it reflects the world around it, but cut to its own terms. Each facet is sliced and polished to set the diamond as a whole off to best advantage.
What facets of your Self could shine just a little brighter if the mirror was lowered? What parts of you are getting overshadowed by your perceptions or interpretations of another’s needs? If you weren’t preoccupied fulfilling other’s identity expectations of you, how would you carry off the theatre of you?
Be You-tiful. Be You. And if that ‘You’ is a little buried still? Get polishing 😉
If you’d like some help with the ‘polishing’, and need some guidance managing your identity challenges, get in touch for a free consultation. I’d love to hear your story! Contact me here and we’ll make some time to talk together.
Thank you. Sometimes it is very hard for TCK to know who we really are.
Glad you enjoyed this post, Shary… yes, it is hard to figure out Self from our many selves!