Sunday, November 3, 2013


About a month ago I volunteered and committed to completing a course through my job that we are calling the values collaborative. We're looking to better ourselves not only in the workplace but also in our personal lives. It is to focus and improve on our strengths, accept our weaknesses, and identify areas in which we can expand on to help ourselves and others around us. This course takes the core values that are already instilled in each and every one of us and it helps us dig deeper into identifying and bringing them out in ourselves.

I was very excited about it at first. I was looking forward to understanding how to expand upon the values that I already think I have a strength in and incorporate them into my job and help pass them along to my coworkers. But never did I ever think it was going to be as difficult and as personal as it is turning out to be. In fact, one of the most common comments in our classes have been "I didn't know this was going to be so personal!"

The very first class we were told that there was a lot of self reflection and that by the end there would be many tears shed. But they told us that what we get out of it really is life changing. Our coaches for the class are fellow co-workers who went to the Values work shop several months ago. They aren't professionals and they aren't perfect, so by them telling us that it is life changing, well I believe it. 

As with anything you do in life, you get out of it what you put into it. I can tell this is going to be how it is with this class. One can go to these classes so that it 'looks good', but not apply any of the lessons to their life and not reflect on it after the fact. Or one can do the opposite, they can understand how a certain value applies to their life, reflect on their strengths in that area, recognize their weaknesses, and throughout that next week figure out how they can apply that value to them in a personal way. To help at home, and at work. 

I went into this class wanting to take out of it as much as I could, but as mentioned before, I didn't know it would be so personal. At first I was excited about that fact, because I do a better job with relating things to me personally and to share my thoughts with a group -- but after the first 2 classes I quickly became upset, frustrated, and finally accepting that these are the things that I need to face since I lost Spencer 2 years ago. Almost everything talked about I immediately relate back to my loss and how my life has formed and changed since then. 

I've known that there are a lot of things I still need to face since his death. Overall, I am doing very, very well... but year 2 has been a bigger challenge for me than year 1. It's been a lot of self discovery, or lack thereof. Through this class I have, well, not really realized (because I already knew)... but they have solidified what I knew and made it all the more real. 

I do not know who I am. 

I have lost my identity. 

I am in no way being true to myself. 

I don't at all know what is important to me anymore. 

I do not know who I am.

When the question of, "Who are you?" was given to us on the very first day of class I blankly stared at the wall. There was no way I could even begin to answer that question. That's when I knew this class was going to be one of the hardest things that I've done in a long time because I was going to have to face that question head on and I was going to have to find my identity that has been so lost. 

There were a couple people who answered that question, but there was no way I could. I know that everyone searches and refines this answer a thousand different times throughout their lives. Who I was was different when I was in HS, when I graduated, when I was married and etc. It sometimes changed on a daily basis. But right now, I can't search out an answer. I think there is also two answers to that question. Who are you in a a subjective sense, and who are you in an objective sense. When I was with Spencer I could easily tell you who I was. I really felt like I had a defined roll and sense of myself. That's one thing that I really gained while with Spencer. I was a wife. A caregiver. A student. A women of integrity, compassion, rationality, overflowing with love.

Some of that I know is still in tact today. I mean, subjectively I think I have a good idea who I am. I know that things such as my compassion and love, among others, will never go away. That's what makes me, me. I suppose some of those ARE my core values now that I get to thinking about it... but that's not the part that I have a hard time with. It's the other. It's who am I objectively. I don't have a solid roll anymore and therefore I feel lost and so much without purpose. 

The other part that I struggle with in the identity of myself that I do know is this: Do I live it? Is that really who I am personifying right now? Before I could say that without a doubt I did. But anymore, I struggle with the very values that are important to me. I guess I just don't feel like most, if any, of that is who I am and what I'm living right now. 

And it bothers me. It disappoints me. Goodness I can't express to you how disappointed I am in myself because of the way that I've been meandering through my life this last year. Not only have I felt disappointed, but there are times where I have also felt incredibly guilty. I've went against my word, and sometimes the word that I gave Spencer. I've certainly lost my sense of self and I'm not sure how to go about getting it back... partially because the very thing that is going to help me rediscover it is going to put me through a lot of difficult decisions, a lot of heart ache, and a lot of facing things that I just don't know if I'm ready to face. 

It's just so easier to go through life right now ignoring and sometimes going against my values and seemingly everything that I stand for. But when reflecting back on it I understand that the choices I have made have not been good and I am disappointed in the way that I acted, didn't act, or in things that I thought. 

I've recognized that there are times I done or thought things to replace a void. Some have been to experience things that I haven't ever experienced before. Some have been just for fun. While it's okay to get out there and freely live, I also need to keep in sight myself and what is important to me. I've been trying to actually LIVE my life and do new things since I grew up so quickly and accepted so much responsibility into my life, not only with my marriage, but with things that I have been completely unable to avoid, such as my illness, losing friends and family members. Granted I would never change my marriage for the entire world, I missed a lot by taking on the roll of a wife at 20 years old. I'm back tracking now and it's difficult. 

There is definitely a lot of thinking and reflecting that is coming out of this class. Good or bad, I don't know... Feelings are mixed... but I do know that it's hard and it's depressing. It's also very obvious that it's something I've been avoiding and something that I will need to eventually be willing to work through. Taking this class at a time where I'm also hitting the second year that Spencer's been gone plus all of the holidays is also an added difficulty as this time of year is already hard enough. 

So far, I haven't been putting much into the class. Yes, I have taken away key points, and I'm reflecting on it a lot, but actually applying it I haven't been able to do. I don't do much with it outside of the class, at least not as much as I thought I would do. 

Though I have to give myself a lot of credit as I am allowing myself to write about it, which in turn usually helps me sort out some of my thoughts. Writing is one of the things that was suggested in the very first class, and writing I can do. (Maybe I am putting in more effort than I think I am...)