Over the years I have counseled many women and teen girls. It has amazed me to see how we as people often tie our identity to objects that are not meant to give us our identity . I can remember counseling this one woman in particular. She was an older woman, who had been married several times. I can’t recall the exact number but it was more than five. Each one of her marriages ended in divorce and each time she would marry another man similar to the former.
After several counseling sessions, it occurred to me that she had no idea “who” she was. She had sought to find her identity through her husbands, but came up empty handed every time. When I asked her what her role was in these marriages she had no idea and responded, “no one has ever asked me that before”.
Though counseling and mentoring people I have seen quite often, that we fail to figure out our identity. So what is “identity”? Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary describes identity as: the distinguishing character or personality of an individual. Perhaps, the best way to define identity is to look in the mirror.
Often times we fail to distinguish our true identity, partly because we are looking in the wrong places. We fall for the lies of society, that we are our work, what our family/friends say, or we are identified as our hobby. But what happens when we no longer have that specific job or are able to continue with said hobby? Similar to my counselee, when we lose the very “things” that we believe give us identity; we find ourselves in an identity crisis. Oftentimes, making the same choices over and over. To avoid an identity crisis, here are few simple suggestions you can try:
ü Take time for self-examination, often:
- This is one of the best activities you can do for yourself. Taking an introspective look at yourself helps you find where you need to stretch and grow. If you don’t like what you are seeing, change it! You are the only person who can. What’s even better is finding a mentor or accountability partner (of the same gender), who will help you stick to the goals you have set.
ü Seek out time to meditate or pray daily:
- Again, whether you are a busy mom or business professional taking just a few minutes before you begin your day will make all the difference. Through meditation or prayer you can frame out the day ahead so that you can be true to yourself. This is also a great practice to help you mentally prepare for issues that could get you off the track that you have planned.
ü Do something that you gives you joy:
- You love your family and friends, so you want to be with them. Be careful not to fall in the trap where they decide who you are, and who you can be. Remember that at the end of your life you are responsible for you and your choices; no one else. You decide what you like and what you don’t. Adventure is what you make of it, so don’t be afraid to try new things and spend time doing what you truly enjoy.
ü Make memories with family and friends:
- Generally people mean well and don’t purposely take up all of your time. It is my belief that life is a journey; we can either fight it or buckle of and enjoy the ride! Thus, take the time to find what you want to spend your time doing. Your friends and family have their own identities; you may not always like the same things. That’s probably the reason that you enjoy their company. Don’t feel obligated to attend every function, just because. Do things that you enjoy, time is precious and so are you!
It’s been my experience that when we know “whose” we are that we are confident in “who” we are. Now it’s your turn! What do you do to support your identity separate from the “things” that you do? Looking for more on this topic? Contact us!