During the process of applying for jobs I’ve thought a lot about identity. Many of us are unclear about what we really want from life and I think this comes down, in a large part, to the fact that most people do not know themselves. Particularly in western cultures we define ourselves by what we do, most often our job or chosen career. The question I’ve been asking myself however is “Who am I when that label is stripped away?”
Perhaps many people do not get to ask this question because they don’t allow themselves the space. Admittedly, in the current US jobs climate, few people are likely to see stepping out of their current role as a sensible or attractive prospect. For those of us however who find ourselves underemployed its a great opportunity to take stock and do a little reflection.
This process for me has actually been going on for quite a while, but as I’ve been questioning what it means to ‘seek the welfare of the city’ and what my part in that might look like I’ve been increasingly honing in on who I am, and what I bring to the table.
I have to say, a lot of my understanding of who I am is wrapped up in my sense that I was intentionally created. I don’t pretend to understand the scientific arguments, but the idea that we just evolved doesn’t really cut it for me. If I am created, then I trust that my core being is going to somehow reflect my creator. It may not manifest on a daily basis, but the key characteristics are hard wired in there.
As I’ve been playing around with these ideas I’ve also been reflecting a lot on my values. What are the things that I hold to be important, what are the non negotiables? As I’ve considered my values and listened to the things that other people value a pattern seems to emerge that would suggest there are only a few basic values. None of this is really new, and its interesting to see others, such as psychologist Jonathan Haidt with his “Moral Foundations Theory”, putting forward similar ideas.
As thinker, and someone committed to growth, one of the things I hope to do, as I explore these ideas, is to engage with others who are on a similar journey.