Wednesday, May 2, 2012


How do we define ourselves.

I went through this list with a friend of mine.  In answering No. 29 I laughed, "What do you think people misunderstand most about you?" First impression, that I am way less put together than I let people see. To my close friends and family, that I am way more vulnerable than I let them see.

I think it's very interesting to listen to ways that people define us. The persona that we present to the world isn't always the truest form of ourselves, and in many ways people choose to define us in ways that they can relate to you.

I have many friends who simply see me as the girl who really likes sports. The girl who is intimidating at 5-foot-11 with a serious look on her face. The girl who is compassionate and service oriented. The one that lacks mercy and is too serious.

But I'd like to think that they only thing that really matters is how we choose to define ourselves. And once we determine what that definition is, to live our lives accordingly. At my incredibly knowledgeable 25, almost 26, years (please note a sense of sarcasm) my personal definition has been evolving, growing, being pruned back in places, and I am willing to say that I am perfectly content with who I am and where I'm going.

After listening to Jane Fonda on this show, I got a little sad for my generation.

As young women, or really as all women, we are being asked to define ourselves according to the world's standards. A standard based on unattainable excellence. We must be the most beautiful, sexiest yet wholesome, smartest and most composed women. The standard of beauty is set by truly unrealistic ideals, where even the most beautiful women of the world don't measure up to. We have to be sexual, without being overly sexual. We are asked to be incredibly smart, but still stand second to men in almost every industry. We aren't supposed to be smarter than men. It's a bit of an unfair paradox.

Now, this is not a problem I blame on men or women. It's just a societal issue that I do not feel is fair. It is not fair to women and it is not fair that men are raised to believe these ideals.

I have a fair amount of friends who define themselves based on their relationships to men. Their self-worth, their value and their happiness is defined by the relationships they are in. I've never thought that a relationship should complete you, but should compliment you.

My personal thought on this matter is that if you are in a relationship because you need it to validate you, most likely the relationship will end. 

I have a tendency to see everything as black and white, right and wrong. To me this kind of thinking is wrong. A woman is of worth and value by the divinity within her. By who she is intended to be by her creator. And for that matter, men are exactly the same.

My high school therapist once told me that I describe my life like I'm watching a TV show. I can take myself out of situations and make observations about other people and their interactions (Yes, this leads me to be emotionally disconnected at times something I am aware of and working on). I think this has given me an opportunity to define myself separate from my relationships and interactions with others.

So how do I define myself? As an almost 25-year-old I'm still working on it. I assume through the years my definition will adapt but I hope the core elements stay the same.

I am a daughter of God, a loving and supportive member of a family, I am an imperfect being, saved by grace and mercy, I am a friend, I am a smart, beautiful, inquisitive young woman, I am fiercely loyal.

I'm still working on everything, but I just hope that people will wait a little while to get to know me before they define me.


jaimee said...

Jill, this post is so great. You just make my life better by being so articulate about things like this. Thank you!

Dawn said...

You forgot to say that you are amazing . . . and yes, you are. i love you . . .