Do you know what your identity is? We often get our identity confused with our occupations, passions or interests. Who we are, and what we do however, are two entirely different concepts I discovered. This is my story, hope its helps you as much as it helps me.
Knowing your Identity in the new mom syndrome
As a newly pregnant mom, I used to have nightmares that I had left my baby outside during the night as I used to do to my dolls when I was a child. That little ‘bundle of joy’ aka ‘responsibility’ lying in my arms revealed the truth of what I had created and how it would impact me as a person for the rest of my life.
Who I was to become; a mom, held such enormous responsibility for me that I knew that ‘who I was’ would never be the same again. I could not possibly consider ‘me’ as who I was, other than through the ‘mom lens’. I had lost who I was because of the responsibility I now had towards another human being.
Their life depended on me; and I knew that this was a serious, life or death experience for the person I had been entrusted. By the time I had three children, all sense of my identity seemed buried. Every waking moment had some detail of what mom needed to do; be it cooking a meal, delivering a child to school, extra murals, ensuring homework got done, or play-dates were in place.
The realization of losing your Identity and now what?
As the children grew older the responsibility seemed to grow exponentially; the ever-demanding toil of life stepping in. The responsibility of raising children magnified when not fully understanding what life in itself entailed. When you have not been given correct coping mechanisms, positive reinforcements and learned tools from past dysfunctional raising; demands of parenting become more strained.
With this drop back, I look at what identity means in my life and who am I really when I am not mom. When we get lost in the process of life, living becomes an existence and joy becomes something one forgets because of the massive pressure of trying to do the right thing, but not knowing what that is.
How to know what your identity is?
Is your identity something you do or something you are or become? The importance of identity is only felt when you wake up one morning and say who am I and what is life about; like the empty nest syndrome appearing on the horizon.
John Powell states that we protect ourselves from vulnerability with defenses which then tend to form patterns of action and reaction.
These patterns become self-deceptive, and so we forfeit all sense of identity. We wear masks and play games. He maintains that none of us wants to live a lie and not be authentic, however, the risk that honest self-communication seems so intense to us that seeking refuge in our roles, masks and games becomes an almost natural reflex action. After a while, it may even be difficult for us to distinguish between what we are and who we pose to be.
HOW TO KNOW YOUR IDENTITY WHEN WE ARE AFFECTED BY OTHERS.
Understanding where Identity begins.
On Saturday we went to see Sleeping Beauty, the Ballet. Now you might find this strange to chat about a children’s story and how it affects our identity in each other, but this had an important epiphany, for me, so let’s get straight in. I watched a Netflix 6 part series awhile ago called Myths and Monsters. https://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/interviews/interview-netflix-myths-and-monsters-director-storytelling
It is about the stories which have the power to transcend time. Nicholas Day unravels the origins and influences of these stories. The 4th episode focused on the Brothers Grimm; the reasons for the stories and why they were written. The earliest version was composed between 1330 and 1344 either French or German.
Charles Perrault adapted the story, and it was later printed by the Brothers Grimm. The narrator, Nicholas Day, tells of how people did not feel safe leaving the town and thought it was unsafe to go into the woods.
As a child, I did not like fairy tales, and even as an adult, I only read certain fairy tales to my children. I skipped Little Red Riding hood out completely, how could I tell them the wolf ate Grandma. Eek. I remember how my children cried when they were little when I took them to see the Rescuers and how scared they were.
Origins of Fairy Tales
The origin of these stories and why they were written makes sense to me now: to protect themselves from the harshness of their lives, however at the time I found them cruel, however as I sat through Sleeping Beauty waiting for the old fairy to come and do her nasty work, instead of wishing that part was over, and feeling uncomfortable, I started taking note of exactly how the old fairy might of being feeling. She had been overlooked at the Christening and was very angry. I suddenly identified with the old fairy.
Lessons we learn from Fairy Tales
How often do we feel overlooked, not invited or excluded from life’s pleasures and how do we react. Do we respond as violently as the ‘old fairy’ did and curse the person with a vengeance that does not fit the crime?
Being overlooked because the king and queen thought she was deceased certainly did not justify such a crime that deserved death to Princess Aurora, a baby at the time. Thank goodness for the seventh fairy who was then able to lighten the curse. In the ballet I noted how the ‘’seventh fairy’ treated the ‘old fairy’. She had no fear and stood up to her with no malice, yet, calmly and decisively told her off. Good does win.
How Fairy Tales help us recognise our identity today
These fairytales have been passed down from generation to generation forming part of our culture. Ancestors from 1000’s of years ago have pass down many traits that have shaped our identity and how we view certain aspects of our life. What stories would we have told our children had Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson and many more authors had they not recorded them and passed on these stories to us from years gone by. Would our identity in ourselves be different? How would we view danger, or evil people, or face crisis upon crisis?
Linking our Identity to the Past
Our identity starts with our ancestors, our past history, stories that have been past down from generation to generation showing us where we originated, how we behaved and why we behave the way we do today. Although these stories are Myths and Legends, they originated from the lives of people that existed before us and how they coped with who they were at the time, trying to make sense of the world they lived in and protected themselves and their children.
Understanding how to know how knowing your Identity can work for you
I have just recently been ill, not life-threatening illnesses, in fact, just prolonged not getting better illness. However, it was not the illness that caused me the problem, but my thoughts about the illness, that made me fall into that hole that I speak about in my first blog. I knew I was in the hole; I knew how to get out of the hole; what fathomed me was why I got into a mess in the first place. http://lovinglylivelife.com/2019/03/05/a-hole-lot-of-living-creating-a-life-worth-living/
Facing fear, anxiety and panic feels like solitary confinement. You are alone with your thoughts and fears; which brought me to start thinking about my identity. Who was I that I allowed myself to become so anxious? Am I the ‘’anxious person’’. Is that my identity? No, because what brings on the anxiety is thoughts; the thoughts manifest into emotional feelings, and then your body reacts to those.
Discovering our Identity
My identity was in how I handled life. I had a choice about who I wanted to be and how I was going to react. When I thought about courage, it was inside myself. When I thought of hope, it was inside myself. When I thought of how I wanted to live my life, I knew. What I did not have was a plan of action to formulate my identity into words.
The definition of Identity is the fact of being who or what a person or thing is. I needed to understand what ‘being’ actually represented.
I Loved this Quote by Emily McDowell
Digging for Gold Nuggets
My identity is not who I am right now, static, as though it always was and always will be; instead it’s a digging and delving and excavating, and as I grow and dig and delve, I discover bits of my identity, like gold nuggets hidden among the rocks and debris of past conditioning. And as I bring those gold nuggets to the surface, my identity forms and I become more and more whom I am meant to be.
It is essential to search for your identity as it points you in the direction of your passions and desires, your dislikes, what you want in life and what character you want to develop. Without knowing who you are, you wander around in the desert, uncertain of what move to make next, or as I read in Rachelgadiel.com’s Instagram post, You always have two choices; evolve or repeat. https://rachelgadiel.com/
Your identity is not something you can list, but something you develop along the way, keeping the bits that are awesome, and getting rid of the bits that do not serve you. Understanding why our ancestors did what they did in the past helps us find new and better ways of handling life and as humans evolve and science,physics, philosophy and psychology helps us understand human development, so we can alter our outdated beliefs and introduce more effective mechanisms that teach us more about ourselves.
HOW TO KNOW YOUR IDENTITY IN GOD
How do we find our Identity in God?
I have always struggled with understanding how to find my identity in God. However, I finally found something that was helpful. I have for months kept a specific devotion available, (they are only usually five days long); however I have held it all year. Why? Because it reminds me of how much God loves me.
The devotion is by Bruce Wilkinson, and he talks about how some people have extraordinary ideas about who God is. Is God angry, poised to throw a lightning bolt at any minute, or withhold favour and love as a punishment, or is God too busy or too high and mighty for our trivial life and individualised prayers. https://brucewilkinson.com/
He reiterates that none of those thoughts could be further from the truth. Once again our thoughts get in the way. Proverbs 23:7 states that “For as he thinks within himself, so he is”. “Gods heart is a heart of blessing, and His gifts come wrapped with grace like no other. Trust his Word. He wants to place His hand upon you, to grant you favour, keep you from evil.” I recall words like ’The relentless love of God’. that says it all.
Realising How God’s love helps us in finding our Identity
Once we realise our thoughts are just thoughts; not who we are, that we can trust that we are loved, adored and cared for, that we can depend of God and ourselves, and we have the intent to fulfil the need we have within ourselves, we can then make plans to excavate our gold nuggets and grow our identity into something remarkable.
Bringing Identity all together.
Fairy tales existed to teach communities to take care and not wander off into the woods as danger lurked there, but today we want to encourage our children to get back to nature and feel the healing that it has to offer, nowing that nature is not dangerous. Being overlooked at not being invited to a party does not mean we have to curse the person to such an illbegotten fate: a mere phone call would suffice. These are lessons we learn and being overlooked does not have to define who we are.
As a mom we feel we have lost who we are when we have children, when we are ill we feel weak and alone, when we feel God is far away we feel deserted, but do these things take away our identity of being. I feel they actually help us find out what our identity is. It reveals our weaknesses and strengths which then points us in the direction to figure out who we are so that we can truly say, this is who I am becoming. Then we create our identity into something worth living for.
My next blog is on Joy, Jealousy and Jesus. J is such a joyous work, but is joy the same as happiness and can we experience Joy with out Jesus in our life? Things like jealousy steal our joy. How can we stop being robbed of our joy and experience joy in the little things.
Powell J. 1969 Why am I afraid to tell you who I am? Argus Communications.
Quote by Emily McDowell: “Finding yourself” is not really …. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/9586181-finding-yourself-is-not-really-how-it-works-you-aren-t