Paul McAleer

I define who I am

Paul McAleer

Something that busts my chops is when people conflate UI and UX work. Now, how much it affects me depends on where it's coming from and who is asking and the like... it's very contextual, as is everything in life. Instead of talking about tactical ways to educate people on these differences, I want to explore how this type of incorrect statement affects me. And, in the past, it has really bothered me.

The simple answer to, "Why does this bother you so?" is, "Because it's wrong." My brain chips in, says, "Nope! That's not what you do! They don't get it! WRONG!"

But when I pull out to examine how I feel about it and embody it, I get a bit of a sick feeling down past my throat. As it turns out, this is the location of the Manipura chakra. More context.

Self-awareness and self-confidence are other pearls of the Manipūra Chakra. Until we discover these pearls within us and raise them into the light we live in constant fear – fear that we will not be loved, that we will be a failure, fear of becoming ill, of dying, etc. Many of our fears are produced by blockages in the Manipūra Chakra.

Totally makes sense to me why I'm experiencing these things in tandem with my Ajna chakra up at the eyebrows. In these moments I initially feel very threatened and fearful. These feelings of self-awareness and self-confidence were so quiet within me that I actually gave other people permission to define me, mostly by my profession. Why would I give other people that much power?

Instead, I've reclaimed it.

I'm not defined by my deliverables (gah), by my conversations, by my blog posts, by my work. These things are happening as a result of me and who I am - and I am very proud of that - but they are not me. None of this is neat and all of it is messy. But then, so am I.

There are and always will be some people who continue to think I'm a UI designer or a visual designer or think that interaction design and HTML are the same thing. I will continue to challenge it, but I also acknowledge that other people must choose to listen. Some will, some will not. Undoubtedly when others make these mistakes a part of my body will want to react and say, "Nooooo!" But, I call on confidence, patience, and understanding to disallow these statements from defining me and to empower me to educate others.