Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wondrous and Incomplete Ideas

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The experience of seeking employment can be a demanding one.  I can attest to this given my personal journey over the last several years.  I honestly did not expect I would be where I am now when I completed graduate school a few years ago.

Yesterday I noticed the headline of a cover page article on a piece of media I rarely consult.  The presentation of this source of media is one reason I rarely take the time to pause and look it over. This media is a print media designed to provide resources to local job seekers.  You can find copies of it for free in stands throughout the Twin Cities.  The headline I noticed read: "You Are What You Accomplish".  I cannot think of a succinct belief that could feel more demoralizing to ingest (and then accept as true) than this one.

So the sum of who I am is defined by what I have accomplished?  If who I am were only to be measured by what I have accomplished in recent time I wouldn't measure up much.  I haven't held a long term position that has paid me a salary commensurate to my abilities in years.  I haven't even had much success garnering interviews for such positions.  This lack of greater fortune could be attributed to any number of issues.  A person might think I am not trying enough.  You could also conclude my applications are not of the best quality.  And then there is the reality of the job market itself.  When suitable open positions are few and far between the job market effectively becomes a hyper-competitive one.  And it is the experience of living in such a market that makes reading such statements as "You are what you accomplish" all the more difficult to bear.

I personally see myself as much, much more than what I have accomplished.  People are more than what they do.  People have value and dignity that has nothing to do with what they do, what their socioeconomic status is, what their past history is, what their present circumstances are and what they believe about themselves.  I believe all human beings carry something called potential.  We all have the potential to achieve amazing things.  I believe people have the potential to overcome enormous obstacles, inspire others and bring vibrant colorful energy to a world too often filled with black and white thinking.  We are not just what we accomplish.  We are the totality of our pasts, presents and future possibilities.  In short I believe we are so much bigger than many of us imagine we are.

If I were to assess myself based exclusively on the tangible results I have accomplished in my professional life within the last fifteen months I would feel deeply disillusioned.  In fact, I would probably feel so disillusioned that I would not want to get out of bed again for a while.  I have indeed felt deeply disappointed by how regularly I show up to the world each day and how often my willingness to show up is not being met in a commensurate way.  I often find myself asking very probing and very difficult questions.  And my questions are not rhetorical in nature.  I ask questions like these:

  • Where are all the high quality men who are committed to living lives of integrity, kindness, diligence and compassion?
  • Where are women who possess and offer such qualities?
  • Where is an economy that is worthy of the wealth and skills of a nation of over three hundred million people whose history places it among the most powerful nations of the world?
  • Where is the love we have the potential to bring more fully into the world?

In the journey of healing from trauma I think it not uncommon for many of us to face the horror of what we have endured and survived and then ask ourselves who we are now and what we can be in the future.  Healing is a process that cannot be easily predicted or controlled.  Healing may also be a very vulnerable time.  We may find ourselves feeling especially vulnerable to ideas such as "you are what you accomplish".  I personally believe we are much more.

Who do you want to be?

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!