I recently read an article called; “Managing Our Personal Identity Crisis.” Where the writer talks about the “loss of self can be hard to reconcile,” and “I thought I had my identity finally sorted.” Certainly, I understand that this is coming from the perspective of one person. And one’s current life conditions.
It struck me however, that what’s really going on is a shift and change in priorities. I’m not referring to a flat-out upheaval where one has lost their employment and are struggling to make ends meet. That’s a whole other conversation. And, quite frankly, very real now that we’re in a pandemic.
What I’m referring to and asking you to consider is, that if you are identifying yourself within roles, then yes, your identity will seem lost. And there lies the challenge. Once you start to compartmentalize yourself into; Mother, daughter, wife, sister, brother, husband, lawyer, doctor, mechanic, caregiver, etc. you are then identifying with a ‘title’ and not who you are as an individual.
Ok, true, when someone asks you; “What do you do?” your natural response isn’t; “I’m a unique individual.” People want to hear your ‘title.’ What can be difficult however is HOW you identify with that title.
If you are strongly tied (yes, tied) to a title then when/if you lose that title, or your title changes for any reason – you feel that you’ve lost your identity.
The challenge and struggle in placing roles on us is that typically unfairness arises. Typically, the unfairness lands on women. Particularly now, during a pandemic where, if you have children, everyone is now at home. The role, if not properly communicated, of chef, chief bottle washer, house cleaner, entertainer, educator, and [fill in the blanks] typically lands on the female. Not to mention if the female has their own business. Now they are also juggling with that too – AND missing it as well.
The struggle for me is when we refer to ourselves as; “We are struggling to maintain our identities.”
I’d like to make this really easy for you. You have one identity and that’s to be the best individual (human being) that you can be. That’s it. Everything else is about communication, what you need to be doing, and how you want to divide up the tasks and work to get shit done.
Go ahead, have your meltdowns, panic, cries, freak-outs, anxiety and fear and yet apart from perhaps feeling better that you “let it all out” you will not be any further ahead with what you need and want to be doing.
It will not make you a more resilient, resourceful, nimble, flexible individual.
And IF you do identify with roles, then it can get really confusing. Typically, what you identify with isn’t really you anyway. It’s probably the stuff and cool title that define this for you. There’s a reason why they say; “How do you want to act?” It’s because you’re acting. Do you ever really hear; “How do you want to be?” Nope. Rarely.
Look, I’m not trying to mess with your thinking. It’s kind of cool to have the impressive sounding titles. And yet, think about it. Wouldn’t it be great if every single individual strived to be impressive – to themselves. No one else.
Until you realize that titles do not define you, you will continue to be confused, rattled and lost.
Define your priorities. They are everchanging. Then, BE your priority.