What You DO Is Not Who You ARE

Yesterday, at the close of a brilliant coaching session, my coach relayed the following words,

“Brooke, you are not the things that you DO.
Motherhood, Teacher, Business owner… that isn’t who you ARE.
You’re Brooke.
Mothering, photography, your business..are things that you DO.
It’s important to know the difference.”

The comment was actually quite unsettling to me.

I was most unnerved by her grouping motherhood into that mantra. Motherhood is something that you DO, not something that you ARE? But of course I am a mother! I could accept what she was saying about the other things… but motherhood???

The irony.

I have always been uncomfortable the label of “mommy”. Not because I don’t like mothering, but because I feel like too often women confine themselves within that box. They call themselves a Mommy Blogger, a Momtographer, a Mompreneur, a Stay at Home Mom… the label totally rubs me wrong. Even though I’m every single one of those things myself! I just don’t outright call myself that!

Despite my turning a blind eye to those titles, I’ve been guilty of exactly what she says… looking at my roles as something I AM, and not something I DO.

Is there really a difference?

Turns out there is, even if it’s just a matter of syntax.

For example:

When I think of motherhood as something I DO, I end up focusing on how I can nurture, teach, protect, and inspire.

When I think of motherhood as something I AM, I coast. I go through the motions and see it simply as a hat I wear. It’s part of who I am. It’s routine. It’s default. It’s autopilot.

When I see motherhood as something that I DO, I see it as something that can be practiced. I can hone my skills.

When I see motherhood as something that I DO, I can maintain my own identity. Maintaining my own identity also makes it easier for me to separate my self-worth from how good I’m doing at motherhood.

I am not as easily shamed by moments that I don’t DO motherhood well. It’s not who I am, it’s what I do–and what I do I can improve upon.

What you do is not who you are.

“Think of yourself as a nugget of gold.” My coach continued.
“You are what you are. Your worth is infinite. You’re gold!
But it’s up to you to choose how you want to mold it.
You can mold it into whatever shape of motherhood you want it to be.
You can mold it into any shape of business woman you want to be and so forth.
But what you do (how you mold yourself) is not the same as who you are (your worth is already determined and inherently divine.)”

If I treat those different responsibilities in my life as something that I DO, I know I’ll end up doing a better job. And quite possibly, end up learning more about the golden individual that I AM in the process.

So what do you think? Do you define yourself by what you do?

bwselfie Brooke Snow is a photographic artist and delights in the pursuit of a meaningful life. Sign up for her FREE e course “Living A Thriving Life” to learn more about how to find true balance in your life. Brooke lives in Northern Utah with her calm husband and adventurous 4 year old son.

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