So, tell me about your ‘self’. Who are you? What do you do? What makes up your concept of who you are? Certainly there are some aspects which your social circle know; your job, your hobbies, and your roles in life.
So let me ask you, what have you done for your ‘self’ lately? Your ‘self’ is dynamic. It is constantly growing and changing. It’s a reflexive project, it’s something we continue to analyze and shape. If we don’t like something, we can change it.
Erving Goffman, one of the foremost scholars on the ‘self’ explains,
“Approved attributes and their relation to face make every man his own jailer; this is a fundamental social constraint even though each man may like his cell.”
Your ‘face’ is your ‘self’ that you show the world. If you are insecure you can still show a face that exudes confidence, even though you are hiding under the surface. If you are overweight, you can wear clothes that flatter, you can even try to lose weight. All of these things are possible, but you must be willing to break free of your own jail and make things happen.
One of the things I find most aggravating in people is that they complain about their situation, yet do nothing to improve it. If you don’t like your job, start working on finding another. If you don’t like your body, start working on fixing it. Yet many people go through life being complacent in their own areas of unhappiness.
In truth, your job is a large part of your ‘self’. It’s how you spend most of your time. It gives you an identity. That’s why losing a job is traumatic in more ways than just financially. It greatly alters your self-identity. Many of us feel stuck in our current employment. The truth is, many of us are. The opportunities that exist often don’t pay enough to provide an alternative. Therefore we must find other ways to nurture our ‘self’.
I read a book earlier this week and the author, Victoria Michaels, explained that one of the best things in life is that if you choose the wrong path in life, you can always go back and choose another. So if you’ve chosen the wrong career path, you can always work your way into another.
So what have you done for your ‘self’ lately? This may not mean a career change or even a change in your path. It can be reading a book or trying a new recipe. Continuing to nurture your ‘self’ will make you a happier person.
I have a long way to go in developing my career path, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t done things for my ‘self’. I’ve taken a part-time job in radio, my first love. I’ve taken up reading fiction again. I’m even signing up for a sewing class in January. My husband, perpetually frustrated in his own career, has taken up his former love of art. Small acts like this can make all the difference in challenging economic climates like this.