Who am I?

As I write this, I find myself currently unemployed. This prompts a lot of questions about self, which launches many questions about the past, present and future.

While I was employed, there were many things I put up with because, well, that’s a job, right? I grew and changed, and that growing and changing did not reflect where the organisation I was with went. I attempted to confine myself within the bounds of my job, but that can only last so long.

Don’t mis-read me here – I didn’t leave the job because they aren’t doing cool stuff, nor simply because I changed. There were many factors. What I am referring to here is what can also be found in relationships, which, in effect, is what a job is. We grew, we changed, and it is rare for that growth and change to be in the same direction. This means compromise with change and goals. It is rare for a work place to compromise and change if you aren’t in charge, which means all the compromise needs to be with you. I am reviewing my compromises and wondering what that tells me about myself.

So my questions about the past become questions about my compromises and my growth. Thanks to where I was working, I have developed a more comprehensive understanding of recovery and thriving. I saw quite early that recovery was an early stepping stone to something else – wellbeing, completeness, EleMental… I wasn’t sure. I have developed my thoughts and have decided that Thriving Is It, although not as Mike Smith defines it. I’ll define it more later, in another post. This post is about me.

I compromised more than I feel comfortable with. The specifics of what I compromised aren’t specifically important here. What is important is that I did compromise, which is human, and it has affected me, because I try to be better than human. Compromise is a natural part of being human in a world of social interaction and difference of opinion. If none of us compromised, we would either all be exact clones, or we would kill each other on site. The world is full of people killing people due to a lack of compromise.

Yet somehow I want to hold myself better than that. I want to go beyond human, creating a dichotomy of “This is right” and “This is wrong” rather than accepting that my “This is” is allowed to be different to someone else’s “This is” and we can both be right. I appreciate that this is kind of vague and hard to grasp. Perhaps an example will help. “Thou shalt not steal” is an example I gave to my daughter. An easy principle to understand, if it isn’t yours, don’t take it. If you do, you are wrong. Yet if my daughter is starving and my only option to feed her is to steal food, then bugger the principle, I am going to steal some food. I hold the principle of “You will care for your child” higher than my moral principle of “Thou shalt not steal”. In effect, I allow that my principles can be compromised by other principles. Therefore, I must look at the context of other peoples actions rather than just judging them wrong. Even when I have looked at their context, even when I feel I can justifiably judge them wrong, I must also accept that I may not understand and could be just as wrong to judge them as I think they are wrong. Still very muddled, sorry.

In short, I want to be uncompromisable, but have to accept that I am human, I live in society with other humans, and therefore I can’t be better. That shouldn’t stop me from aiming to be better, but I shouldn’t kick myself for not being better.

This leads to my future. Where do I want to go? Clearly compromise is a big issue and I want to work somewhere that is more closely aligned to where I have grown and evolved in my present self. I fear that this place does not exist. This is one of the reasons I stayed as long as I did where I was – my fear of not finding it this good. Better the devil you know, isn’t it? Not always.

Some of my wilder futures can be ruled out at this present moment. I will stay in the state that I am in because that is where my daughter is. I will not start my own practice because I do not feel I know enough to do so and I am not sure who I would want as partners, or even if I could find viable partners, to fill up my short comings. I am not going to drive off into the sunset. Mostly because the sunset here is straight into an ocean. By the same token, although for slightly different reasons, I am not going to drive off into the sunrise either as I fear following my fathers foot steps, running away from his life rather than working with what he has.

That still leaves me with a number of uncertainties though. Will I work for a non-government organisation, or a government organisation, or a private practice? Will I be working with children, adolescents or adults? Will I stay exclusive to mental health, or dabble in substance abuse or justice? Where will I look and what will I aim for?

Which leads to the present. To know what to do now, I need to have a fair idea of what I am aiming for. Without having some level of definition of this, I find myself frozen in action as I fear shutting down an option of what is to come. Knowing who I am and where I am heading is so very important.