Who Am I and Where Do I Belong?
Updated: Jul 19
It’s deep, right?
We recently returned to the UK, to visit family, after a three-year hiatus following Covid-19, as many people have. I found myself being very intentional about asking questions such as ‘Where do I want to live?’ and ‘Where do I belong?’. There is no simple answer.
We loved seeing our families again, and meeting new additions. The weather was gorgeous for the UK in March (you must appreciate how focused we Brits can be on the weather). The historic architecture was just beautiful (something we hadn’t fully appreciated when we lived there). The countryside was spectacular, with a sea of yellow. We drank more tea than ever before, and fully appreciated the swift boil of the electric kettles there (voltage difference!). We walked to pubs and restaurants. Whilst we love our Uber and Lyft drivers, we do love walking. And yet, I did not feel I belonged. My identity has shifted. As a coach, I fully appreciate that comparing is not helpful, and yet it was difficult not to. There are great aspects to the UK and the US. There are also downsides to both. They are different.
Who am I? The age-old question. I moved here with an identity of being English, a partner, a daughter, a therapist, a vegetarian, a greyhound mom, a gamer (shock value for some 😊). Whilst being a vegetarian, a partner, a greyhound mom, a gamer etc… still remain, I am no longer a therapist and absolutely love being a coach. I am still English, as I was born there, and there are cultural differences between the US and the UK, which are elusive to me.
Identity. What does that mean? I feel it is bigger than our ‘doing’ and encompasses our ‘being’. For me, I am kind and generous, positive and happy (most of the time…). I am funny and grounded and have a sense of peace and of adventures yet to come. I can also get angry and impatient and sad and defensive. We are all a mix of things. This is the human condition (Hannah Arendt, 1958).
What you focus on truly grows. I choose to identify more with kindness, love, generosity, gratitude, peace, humor, curiosity and compassion. This is the identity I choose to be more of each day. It has to be a conscious choice for us all, or we can get lost in self-defeating, negative thoughts, beliefs and patterns.
After much rambling, I currently feel my home is in the US, as it is where I am. I also have a sense of straddling the Atlantic, with one foot in the UK, and one foot in the US. This can, understandably, be painful at times… Being ok with that, and accepting that I love my life in the US and who I am as a result of being here helps reaffirm where I belong. Identity, home and belonging have to come from within. No one can create that for us. It’s also an evolving creation. If we stop growing and learning and developing, where does that leave us? We get to create our identity and appreciate the good, bad and everything in between as it shifts.
My musing ends with three questions to you, the reader. If you remove the ‘doing’, who are you really? What are you identifying with that is getting in your way? What identity to you want create more of?
Laura is passionate about helping people get unstuck & out of their own way. She is a collaborative & heart-based life & leadership coach. As a previous therapist, and now coach-for-life, Laura brings deep insight, experience and appreciation for people with diverse challenges. If you are looking for a coach to help you shine in the world, then reach out for a free discovery call, to see how coaching with Laura could help you. www.laurahaywoodcoaching.com