“My PHD”….. Just writing this sounds like I’m attaching myself to something that is not mine. And this is what we do: We say “My Career”, “My PHD”, “My Work”.
I wanted to do a PHD because I was attached to the label. I felt that it’ll make my life better and more secure if I have the right title because I would be perceived as more legitimate. So this would allow me to give more presentations, write and publish more books and become a more confident public speaker.
The irony is that no label can give you confidence. You need to work it out yourself. You can be very confident and charismatic without any title and you can be shy as hell even after generating a couple of titles. It’s not about the title. It’s about the quality that we pursue in the outside world instead of pursuing this in us.
We acquire many labels to feel better about ourselves. Isn’t it a self-protection mechanism? Fear that we don’t matter without a certain label.
The question is: Who is there behind the labels?
To find out more about yourself it is important to spend quiet time with yourself in the environment where you can just be yourself without pretending anything. It doesn’t mean that you have to remove all the labels from your life. Labels can be useful like a certain uniform you wear for work or a certain kind of clothes that are associated with a certain job position to be believable. The problem starts when we identify too much with these labels or uniforms and we forget who we really are. It can take a lifetime to chase the labels instead of developing your uniqueness and sharing your own voice with the world.
Here are some suggestions for how to create better contact with yourself and start feeling good about yourself without the labels:
- Create a daily ritual to meditate for at least 20 minutes a day. Make sure that nobody disturbs you. You can set an alarm clock. Sit in a comfortable position with a straight back. This can be on a cushion, yoga mat or on a chair. Focus on your breath going in and going out and just be.
- Find a moment during the week to go for a walk by yourself. You can listen to your favorite music or just observe the scenery.
- Contact one person that you know well and just be with them without pretending anything and make time to meet with them more frequently. Not just on the phone but in person.
- Find a place where you feel good and complete. This can be a place in nature: the forest, sea, park or lake. Or even a place in the city. Spend some time there to connect with yourself in a positive way.
- Find an activity that brings you joy and makes you feel good. This activity should make you feel good without the urge to compete or to pretend to be somebody else.