Most of us wear several different hats on a daily basis so it can be hard to truly know what our identity is. About a month ago, I went to a women’s retreat through a local church. The speaker was a woman from Wako, TX named Elizabeth Oates. We were all sitting down for dinner and there were printed questions to discuss during the meal. One question asked, “How do you identify yourself?” My initial thought was, “I’m the tall girl.” It then dawned on me that this is how other people view me so how do I view me? I found it very difficult to think of my identity that didn’t involve other people’s view of me. I ended up describing that I find my identity through being my dad’s daughter. Everything I do and all of my goals are intertwined with the life I want my dad to have. Even though I gave a pretty good answer (in my opinion) it made me wonder what else contributes to identity.
As I pondered this concept, everything came down to one thought: You must find identity in something bigger than yourself. That can mean anything you want it to. For example: your spirituality or the legacy you want to leave behind.
Another speaker at the retreat was a woman named Amanda Hadden and she is the founder of the Adorned Campaign. The Adorned Campaign was started to educate young women on depression, suicide ideation, and self-harm. This campaign started on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and I was lucky enough to be a part of it. I spoke last week at Little Wound School about depression and self-harm while telling some stories of my struggles with self-acceptance and identity.
If someone would’ve asked me what my identity was in college, I would have said basketball player and never given it another thought….until my senior year. It started to dawn on me that I wasn’t going to be a basketball player forever. My senior year, we made it to the NCAA DII National Tournament that was held in Durango, CO. We won our first game against Concordia St. Paul then lost our 2nd game to Adam’s State. After many tears and pictures, I recall getting in to our suburban with my fellow senior and my coach. I said, “Well… now what?” That question was the theme of the next year of my life… until I got an offer to play professional basketball for the Ringwood Hawks in Melbourne, Australia. I was so excited to be going! It felt like I was staying true to who I was. Even though I enjoyed my time there, I soon started to rebel against my identity as a basketball player because that is all people saw me as due to my height. I would constantly think, “I am more than this.” My Master’s Degree was in the works at the time so I had other goals that were more dependable than basketball. For a long time I defined myself and found my self-worth through basketball and it wasn’t until it ended that I thought differently. I am not a basketball player but a woman that played a lot of basketball. Identity doesn’t come from things you do because when that ends, you are still you.
Discovering your true identity and knowing exactly who you are and what makes you happy can be difficult. If you are looking for direction, check out this quiz! It is pretty accurate if you ask me! Thank you Oprah!
The motto to The Adorned Campaign (and to my life lately) is You Are More. You are more than your circumstances. You are more than your appearance. You are more than your thoughts and emotions. You are more than how others view you. You are more than your job. You are more than your financial stress. You are more than your weight. You are more than the mistakes you have made.
I hope this got you thinking more about how you define yourself as a person. Knowing you are more than anything that comes your way will hopefully give you a sense of peace and empowerment. How you view yourself is the most important thing in the world. Don’t be defined by how others see you. I didn’t let my height define me as only a basketball player because I am more than that.
To learn more about the Adorned Campaign and find out ways to help, click here to view their website.
To learn more about Elizabeth Oates click here.
- You find identity in something bigger than yourself.
- Eliminate what other people think of you from you identity.
- Be proud of who you are.
- YOU ARE MORE.
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