I wanted to share a realization that has gotten me through a difficult time lately. This realization is that you are not defined by that thing.
We tend to define ourselves by certain aspects, whether it is our job, a relationship, a role we play in our lives (ie. mother, sister, grandfather), or any other number of things. I think in extreme cases, we even tend to define ourselves by things that have happened to us. We tend to put so much weight on how these things define us that when they are removed, it’s difficult to know who we actually are. It feels as though we’ve lost ourselves and now it’s difficult to define who we are, even in our own minds.
Of course, every bit of our life does lend itself to who we are and those big important things that we tend to allow to define us have a massive impact on us. But there are so many other things outside of these allegedly “defining matters” that actually make us who we are. You are not “only” a mom, you are someone who loves piano, who adores animals, who is an amazing mom and who is beyond talented at gardening. You are not “only” a surgeon, you are someone who loves tea, who is a fantastic surgeon, who teaches Zumba and who loves to sing. You are not “only” Zach’s girlfriend, you are someone who is working toward her university degree, who is dating Zach, who plays badminton every other day and who has a pretty epic wine collection.
I think that this is one of the reasons that having hobbies and outside passions is so important. Inevitably, as some point in your life (and probably even multiple times), your identity is bound to face a shift. This is when it is so important to realize that there is much, much more that defines you.
I also think that realizing this and stating this gives you power. It gives you power to be who you want to be. It gives you power over those who would like to use that thing to manipulate you. It gives you power to become who and what you actually want to be.
So today, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that you are not defined by that thing. You are not defined by that relationship that just ended. You are not defined by that job that you just lost or that role that got taken away from you. You are so, so much more.
Oh, and a beautiful thing happens when your identity begins to shift. Other pieces of your identity become larger to fill in where that thing was. New pieces move in and take over that space. That thing is still there, because it was an important part of your life at one point, but it shrinks in importance.