How Are You Defining Yourself?

I am a Professional.......

I became really GOOD and that was because work was where I hid from life. It was the one thing Eileen could control; it was mine. My family and my husband had no say in how I performed at work. I was able to voice my opinions, learn new things, screw up and achieve. I took that opportunity and I ran with it. Can you relate to this? But in my personal life I was not as good, in fact, I had no control of what I wanted and my voice even though at times I was loud, I was not heard. It was like the words that came out of my mouth did not matter. My thought process was either challenged or ignored and my wants, well let’s just say even I ignored them. I loved working so much that I became a workaholic. Today I understand I really did not like working as much as I wanted to keep busy. But I worked all the time, I took my work home, I made myself available during vacation and weekends. I wanted to hold on to that thing that I felt made me special. OK so that was then…..but I am not who I was. In 2013, I got laid off and in that same year I initiated my divorce. I was as broke as one could be. My daughter and I took quick showers, took turn on when to wash our hair and started using disposable plates and cups to avoid using too much of the hot water. I was broke, unemployed and yet I was at peace. It took me an entire year for me to find work and when I did, I was no longer a workaholic. I no longer needed to hide from life, I was happy coming home to silence and I was happy getting in the car and heading to the beach. I was content. So where did the workaholic go? Well she never really existed. She was a coping mechanism which although it helped me grow in my profession it did nothing for me in my personal life. In fact, growth happened by experiencing both lay off and divorce the same year. Work should not define you, in today’s market stability does not exist. If you love your job and give it your all you will be broken the moment that job no longer needs you. And trust me when I say, it does not need you! Your strength and your happiness must be centered around you. Did you read that right, “YOU” I didn’t say your spouse or your kids or your parents, I said, “You!”. When you connect with yourself, and I will admit as I write this, I am still learning this. When you connect with yourself, and take care of yourself you are taking care of all those are dear to your heart. You become a better lover, a better parent, a better employee or employer. When you take care of yourself first, the best of you emerges and serves everyone. I have overcome many obstacles in my life but most recently I realized I am still fighting some demons and those are the ones that whisper in my ear, “you’re too fat, not smart enough, bla bla bla”. The problem is that there are some demons that have a strong hold over our lives because they’ve been with us since the early years of our lives. We’ve taken criticism, we’ve been bullied, we’ve been silenced, shamed. Does this sound familiar? Sadly, this is too common in our society. Too many of us even if not the exact experiences we share lack of self-worth for the experiences from our childhood. So, what do we do? Well we make a decision to work on ourselves. We get clear on why we do what we do and we make a commitment to becoming the best version of ourselves. We aim to give life to the vision of the life we envision for ourselves, not the vision others imposed on us. And we dare to try new things even if our initial attempts are not successful. Did you notice how I chose the words, “not successful over failure”? I did that because failure is only true when we stop trying. Therefore, if we keep on moving forward despite multiple unsuccessful attempts we will begin to experience a chance in in how we think, speak and act and eventually a better version of us will emerge. I am a professional, true. But more than that, I am Eileen Gonzalez! Who are you?

Writer & Author of "Dancing With the Devil"