Defining the undefinable.
There is something instinctive in me that resists definition.
Trying to define myself physically hurts.
Nugget-sized language of who I am or what I do never conveys it fully. I know it’s not meant to be the full-sized version (that’s why it’s just an intro), but I can’t get over how it feels like my soul is screaming when I squeeze myself into such tiny proportions.
I’ve tried and tried … and tried. Countless exercises and even hiring of other professionals to help me find the words. Yet, I’m still at war with wtf is my “title” and loathe the “What do you do?” question.
Please, no more of those formula scripts where all you have to do is just pop in a few words and boom you have a statement ready to go. GAH! They drive me bonkers!!!
And, I know I’m not the only one. More and more, I’m having conversations with others who are struggling with this same conflict. One of my friends is even an amazing marketing professional, a wizard with words, and she shared with me her own turmoil with classification!
Folks. Something is very backwards here.
Throughout most of our history as humans, our options and resources have been limited. We didn’t have many choices and the ones we had were much more simple. Nowadays, we have an abundance of possibilities. As an example, merely a few decades ago it was a privilege to have one TV station and now there are thousands of channels.
Our world is continually expanding with options where we can choose how we would like to live in this life.
It expands even further when looking at: “Who is choosing how we live?” “How is it being chosen?” and “Why is that the choice being made?”
I believe who we are is a mixture of those choices, our perspective, and methods for choosing. This makes for a LOT of nuance and complexity. Which means the more you choose your own assortment, your own path, the harder it becomes to express something that has never existed in this way before.
Not to mention if you live in growth where just as soon as you find words for this moment, it’s already shifted in the next moment.
No wonder it feels so oppositional to articulate all of this in a bite-sized introduction!
On the flip side…
We are literally machines built for filtering. Our brains, our nervous systems, and beyond. There is so much information. We have a very real need to categorize and identify in order to understand and communicate.
As much as I feel labels are limiting, we have to be able to reference something and have a word(s) to know what is being referenced.
My all-time favorite word is “thing”. It conveys so much with so little. Yet, I can’t be going around saying, “Hey, can I have that thing so I can put it on my thing to go with the other thing?” (Btw, I’ve tried this and they had no idea what I was talking about!)
As much as it pains me to admit, we actually need definitions.
I’d LOVE to communicate in a simple and straight-forward way, but being defined still makes me want to vomit.
What’s the real issue?
Think about your best friend.
You may or may not remember how they introduced themselves to you. But at this point, it becomes irrelevant.
Instead of a “definition” you have an “experience” of them.
You may use words, but because your experience runs deep, the exact words don’t matter as much.
For me, it’s mostly in the introduction where I feel the conflict.
Someone who doesn’t yet have the depth of experience and is solely forming an impression of me based on the words I choose.
Talk about pressure!
There are no combination of words I could use to introduce myself that would make sense to anyone and everyone. And, I’ve long given up the responsibility to be understandable to every person I meet. This is why whenever I’m introducing myself, I like to ask myself first, “who do I want to reach?”
I’ve also noticed the conflict if someone becomes attached to an identity and there is no space for flexibility. Something along the lines of: “This is who you are, who I know you to be. And anything that diverges from what I know feels threatening.”
This is the curse of expectation!
And, super secret… it’s probably actually about THEM. But, that’s a whole other post for another time.
So, I’d pinpoint the most resistance being in those initial words.
Whether in person or in writing, an introduction is a proclamation of this is who I am and the words I choose will color how you see me henceforth.
Perhaps I’m putting too much pressure on a few intro words.
But to me, I have felt so misunderstood and unseen for the majority of my life from the majority of people, that yes, it actually matters significantly!
It’s the difference between connecting vs. not connecting.
I’ve spent a lot of my life feeling disconnected and I made it through alive, but untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide. And one of the main causes of depression is social isolation. In severe cases, literally an introduction can influence life or death.
I have incredible people in my life now, so I’m not personally as affected in the same severity, but the introduction process still has a resonance of significance.
And even if no one else was involved, I would love to have the ability to express my truth in its essence.
I believe the digging, revealing, and sharing of our inner most truth is a journey we are on throughout our entire lives. THAT is why it’s so difficult to define. It’s not a fixed state, but a dynamic, living, breathing adventure.
Still, it’s a requirement to have SOMETHING to say. Especially if our work / personal lives are non-typical and don’t follow the standard definitions, it can feel like a monumental endeavor to clarify what that something to say could be.
You up for an interactive experiment?
This week, let’s try out something a little different.
The thing is, I don’t have the answer.
And, I’m not even sure that there is an answer – definitely not “the answer.”
Instead! I know there are some crazy awesome quirksters here, like yourself (*wink wink*), who probably have diverse and interesting insights to share on this topic of feeling undefinable. Yes??
What magic might happen if we co-mingled in the comments?
Feel free to jam on some ideas, or respond to something, and if you’d like, here are some questions to get us started:
–> Do you feel undefinable? And, why or why not?
–> What language do you use to introduce yourself? And, how did you discover those words?
Scroll down to join us in the comments!