I’ve had a rather unusual experience the past few weeks that has caused me to ask myself about what makes me me. Google lets you set up an alert, a search for a certain term so you can keep up to date on a topic or find references to something or someone. I set one up for my name, Jay Blevins so I could track my marketing efforts. Recently I’ve been getting a lot of notices about my name…only it isn’t me. It is another Jay Blevins.
I know there are other Jay Blevins in the world. I’ve gotten notices from time to time about things on the web related to them. I even had one email me to introduce himself. But this particular Jay Blevins has been getting a lot of attention. It seems he is a “doomsday prepper” and was featured on a show about people who are preparing for the downfall of civilization. Apparently there is a large contingent of people preparing for this. They are stockpiling food, water, shelter, arms, ammunition…anything you might need when chaos erupts. After being featured on the show the other Jay has been getting a lot of attention on doomsday websites. So several times a week Google Alerts is notifying me about an article or post about Jay Blevins…Doomsday Jay.
As these alerts started rolling in I found myself getting irritated by them. Doomsday Jay is nothing like me. In fact, I find all of his doomsday preparations silly. Personally I don’t want to live my live planning for the potential horrors in the world. I’d rather embrace the positives and be hopeful. It got worse when friends and acquaintances starting emailing and texting, pointing it out and teasing me. While I know they were aware it wasn’t really me I found myself thinking, “Hey, he’s not me.”
So what is it that makes me me…or any of us who we are, different from everyone else? It made me think about clients that have run into challenges when parts of them or their life changes or goes away, causing them to question who they really are. It could be someone losing their job when they have always identified themself as a teacher or a chef or a builder or whatever. Or it might be someone whose children grow up and leave home that loses the part of them that identifies as a parent. There are many examples.
What I see is that while these changes may cause individuals to question who they are, they find there way back to who they are when they realize that who they are comes from many places. It isn’t just their name, or their job, or there looks, or their accomplishments…it is the sum of all of those things. Losing a piece may create a shift in perspective, but it doesn’t really change who they are at the core.
But realizing this fact highlights the importance of tending to all of the parts that make us be who we are. Because we are the sum of all of our parts, if we spend too much time on one part we risk having a harder time if that part changes. It is why parents need to have interests and parts other than being a parent. It is why businesspeople need to have interests and parts other than their profession. It is why having a sense of self even when you are a relationship is important. Having and caring for multiple parts makes us stronger and more resilient.
As part of the holiday season I recently watch Miracle on 34th Street (for the umpteenth time). In it John Payne, playing young attorney Fred Gailey, says to the district attorney (I’m paraphrasing), “You claim to be you and no one questions you. Who are we to say that that man isn’t Santa?” While you may argue the existence of Santa, the point is well taken…the person that decides who you are is you. So give it some thought. What makes you be you? And then shape and care for those parts so you can be the best possible you.