My stock answer has recently become, "I work with people who want to get to know who they really are, outside of the roles that define them; I do a lot of clarifying with them to help them find out what they really want, outside of what they feel they should; I work with them to create a plan to get from where they are now to where they want to be; and I keep them accountable about it."
A big part of that, and a big part of what I "do" with clients, "really," is about finding your Self in the midst of being somebody's wife, somebody's mom, somebody's sister, somebody's employee, or the guy that you seem to think society wants you to think you ought to be. Who are you in there? What do you want from your life? I often hear people limiting themselves based on the expectations that comes with the roles they play, and I challenge them to examine the labels they've been given, and see if they fit, or if they'd like to peel them off.
What has come to my attention in the past few days, however, is that this isn't just about others. We give ourselves labels a lot of the time, too, and then mold ourselves to fit the idea of what our label tells us we are. For example: I'm clingy, so if I expect someone to call me when they say they will, that's just me being clingy. What if that isn't being clingy and is simply expecting the people around you to be accountable? How different would that feel? Or: I'm socially awkward, so if I try to hang out with people and we don't get along, it's my fault, because I'm the socially awkward one. What if it's really the other person(s) being exclusionary, or they're just not the type of person you'd get along with? How could that be different?
Spend some time thinking about the things you say abut yourself, the words you use to define yourself. What words don't feel good to you? And, knowing that you can change who you are and who you want to be in any given moment, what words would you rather use? What words feel better?
Find some good words to use for yourself. If you're going to label yourself, and then mold yourself to fit the label, why not make yourself into something awesome?