Recently, I visited an old friend of mine that I had not seen in about 12 years. It was a large family event. We used to be neighbors and I have fond memories about being at her house for large family gatherings multiple times during the years. It was lovely reconnecting with her. Several people in her circle asked me what I was doing these days and a couple of them had legal questions that they wanted to run past me since they knew me from when I actively practiced law. It was surreal!
I looked at them as if they were from outer space. I felt a huge disconnect. When I told them that I no longer practiced law, they were shocked. They could not imagine me as “not a lawyer.” What was interesting to me was the shift in my identity. When I practiced law, I was the “go to” person. I always had an answer and a solution for every person that came to me. If I did not personally have the answer or the solution, I knew who to call or refer the person to. As I reflected back on those times, I suddenly felt exhausted. How did I do all that? What was my motivation? I came face to face with my former identity and I needed a nap!
Yes, there was a time in my life that my identity revolved around being all things to everyone. And I worked myself into a wall. I cannot do it any more. I, my interiority, the being that is Iyabo, is so much more important to me right now. I do care about others but not in the same way. I care about actually cultivating a real relationship with people, not just being a “professional” rescuer.
It is easy to be a professional “go to” person and people value you for how you put out fires for them. Yes, it may be your job but do not mistake that for what it takes to actually cultivate a personal relationship with them. The minute the fire is out, they have moved on.
I often reflect on a fond memory of my father introducing me to someone many years ago. The person asked me, “What do you do?” And I responded, “I am a lawyer.” My father hit the roof and kinda yelled: “You are NOT a lawyer. You only practice law.” I thought he was nuts! I did not understand. Years later, I came to understand what he was saying. Yes, I very much thought my being a lawyer was part of my person, my identity. Now, that feels so far away from who I am.
Do not ever make the mistake of thinking your role is your soul identity. As you learn to live from your soul and forge your identity based on your soul, you create peace and harmony and congruency with your life.
Thoughts? Leave a comment below.