We’ve all heard of stories of stock market crashes and cruelled investors’ suiciding as a result. It seems hard luck attracts her casualties in life. And if it’s not people taking their own lives, it’s depression and other mental ills that takes the life from them, and their loved ones.
Over the process of the journey which is life, we inevitably enter phases of personal struggle. Without a clear sense of personal identity we’ll generally fail to cope well.
One theory that can help us through personal crises is to acknowledge that we are more than just a mother, father, son, daughter or worker. There is more to our identity than a role or bunch of roles. It’s not about what we do in life so much as who we are.
When we attach our core meaning to a role we’re crushed when that role is taken away. For the stock market investor who had no basis of identity beyond being an investor and living that lifestyle, he or she loses all sense of hope when that life evaporates into thin air.
We all have the propensity to attach too much meaning to our life roles. What would happen to us if we lost our job, or our wife or husband left us, or one of our children died? Notwithstanding the normal grieving process, life should go on eventually. None of these events should derail our lives completely.
Whenever we take ourselves too seriously or end up stressed as a result in one or more areas of life, it’s usually because we’re too attached when we shouldn’t be. It’s only with a solid personal identity not rooted and established in what we do that we’re genuinely free people. Again, it’s who we are that’s important, not what we do.
Now, identifying the need for a clear personal identity is one thing. Establishing it is something completely different. This involves a journey of self-discovery and often repeated re-discovery. (In fact, it gets to be a fun, enriching process.)
We can only be truly real with ourselves and others when we are comfortable with whom we actually are; who God has made us to be. Contrary to popular assumption, none of us really knows this implicitly without making a search for it. And I believe no one can be truly happy without making that search.
Sure, we might pretend we’re happy with lots of externals, but without being reconciled to ourselves, and our core and raw identity’s, we’ll constantly struggle in life with the most basic of things that were always intended to be dealt with early on.
Want to be winsome and awesomely comfortable with everyone--or if we’re introverted, more so than we are presently? Want to be resilient enough to be able to cope with whatever life throws at us? We must be comfortable with ourselves first. It’s the only way.
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.