For those of you who follow rugby, or specifically Scottish rugby, most of you have heard that Thom Evans will not be returning to play rugby due to the neck injury he received in this year's 6 Nations match against...Wales. (and, Thom, if you happen to read this I do wish you the best for a new niche in a life redefined!). There, no doubt, have been many athletes who have had to permanently withdraw from competition owing to injury; and, certainly there are other examples of people who have had to make changes in their activities and lives owing to health concerns or injuries sustained. I am one of those, actually, as I don't think I'll be undertaking any difficult rock climbs nor undertaking strenuous mountain trekking any time soon, if at all. Being athletic and outdoorsy has always been one of my self-descriptions. Even after having three children, I've always striven to be in shape to some degree, save for those few years working the night shift where all I wanted to do was sleep! Between a neck surgery that left me with a narrowed airway, and a collision with a drunk driver that's left me with nagging back, neck and ankle issues, I've had to take a good hard look on how I defined what and who I am.
With the loss of my ability to strive to be in top physical form for the next adventure, I lost a part of me. Yet, should my identity in who I am, be defined by what I do? This question has been tugging in the recesses of my thoughts whenever I get a moment to pause and reflect. My answer is no, I don't think that what I do defines completely who I feel that I am. So, then I must ask myself, "who am I?" What defines who I am as a person? Perhaps all of this would have been easier were I to have started out life with defining who I was not with what I did or by the labels , both positive and negative, that I allowed others to apply to my belief in who I was. This is pretty strong stuff when you realize that your belief about yourself affects the potential that you have within yourself (1).
Most of us are so busy with our lives and the daily grind, we sometimes forget that which defines us. We easily take on labels that society puts on us, but does this reveal what are dreams are, our character, or what we have a passion or talent for? Somehow I do not feel alone in this, if there are people out there who are willing to be honest with themselves. So, I ask those brave enough to answer, even if only to your reflection in the mirror, "What defines who you are?" Yet, before you answer this question with the descriptions of what you do for a living, your hobbies, your station in life, your degrees or achievements, that's not who you are. These are things that define you, yes. They are what you do or what you were born to, and a reflection of part of who you are. However, they do not say 'who' you feel that you believe you are. Therefore, can you define 'who' you are without saying anything about what you do, what you've done, or any other outside labels?