What defines you?

“So what defines you?”

Someone asked me this question today in the context of a getting-to-know-you conversation, skipping right past all of the usual what-do-you-do, where-are-you-from, what-are-your-hobbies kind of questions right to this one. It made me stop and think.

What does define me? I don’t think anyone has ever asked me that before.

Although it seems somewhat related to the what-do-I-have-to-offer-the-world question that I have been struggling with around my encouragement conundrum, I quickly realized that it’s a different question. It’s not about what I have to give (or not give) to other people; it’s about what defines me as a person independent of what I do.

Surprisingly, an answer came quickly: I am a seeker of meaning. That simple line appeared in my head right away, and the more I have thought about it, the more convinced I am that this is accurate. I am always searching for understanding of the meaning of things, relationships, events, people, situations, organizational dynamics, the world around me … and, of course, the big one—the meaning of life itself.

This search for meaning is why I read. It’s why I write. It’s what I am always pondering when I’m absorbed in my own thoughts. It’s what I talk about (directly and indirectly). It’s why I pray. It’s why I do yoga. It’s why I meditate. It’s what consumes me.

I have no idea what to do with this little bit of insight. It doesn’t come any closer to answering the question of what I have to offer the world around me. For all my seeking of meaning and of wisdom, I have no explanations to offer anyone else. I continue to seek meaning because I have not yet captured it.

But I am intrigued by this new definition of myself. It explains so much of what motivates me (and what doesn’t). It will be interesting to see how this definition expands or shifts over time the more I consider this question. In fact, I’ve already expanded it slightly to “a seeker of meaning, hope, and sacred space.” Although, in all honesty, I think I seek sacred space as a doorway into the halls of meaning and hope is the reward I gain from each bit of meaning to elucidate, so it’s still really all about meaning for me. But I like the sound of the three of them together, and that’s enough reason for me to include them all in my new self-definition of the moment.

It’s been a fun exercise today to contemplate this, and I’d like to pass that along to anyone willing to join me. What defines you?

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.

3 thoughts on “What defines you?

  1. Perhaps your purpose in life, KJ, is to seek meaning. Your seeking serves as a great lesson in others’ lives – your family, friends, in this blog… Your purpose is manifesting every time you seek. I think the most powerful teachers are those that seek knowledge (or meaning or purpose or health or…). You and your seeking have an incredible impact on those around you and subsequently those around THEM, sending ripples as you seek.

    I firmly believe if we understood the ripples our thoughts, words and deeds have on each and every person we pass on this journey, our thoughts, words and deeds would be more cognizant – more purposeful and compassionate. Too often we speak and act as a “reaction” and do not take the time to truly “respond.” If we stop and realize the IMPACT even our thoughts have on others, our world (or at least WE as individuals) would manifest more tenderness and patience.

    What defines me? I am maintaining my previously shared “undefined” status of being. I’ll be sure and update that status when it changes – because it will! (I feel so young in this round of my journey – which is a good thing but quite discomforting at times.)

    • Wow, Lisa! Thanks so much for this. You’ve given me so much to think about! I had not considered the fact that my seeking itself could be having a positive impact on anyone else. I am just so very aware of how few answer I have. This is a great shift in perspective for me. Thank you!

      I love your comments about the ripples we send out. I confess that I tend not to think of those as much I probably should, and this is a lovely way for me to bring greater awareness to my responses.

      I can relate to the feeling of being young in a new round of the journey. It is indeed discomforting at times no matter how much good it brings, in my experience anyway of being in a similar space. I wish you many blessings as your journey progresses, and I look forward to hearing what arises for you over time. I am grateful that you are sharing your journey with me through your comments here.

  2. Pingback: I mean it this time | Journey Through the Chrysalis

Comments are closed.