Loss of, or changes in identity can come in many forms. The children move out of home and both Mum's and Dad's might get 'empty nest syndrome.' You lose your job and even if you didn't get yourself fired - you may feel lost. Who are you now? Everything you knew is suddenly gone. Previously, you would get out of bed and get ready for work - you had a purpose. Now there is no need to do anything. You aren't seeing many people anymore, you may have taken a rain check on meeting with friends. You might find yourself with less money now. Where am I going with this? From just this little glimpse into the life of someone going to work, you can see how you might get most of your sense of self from your job.
Who are you? If I gave you 5 minutes and a bit of paper and a pen what you write down in answer to the question 'Who am I?'
Identity seems to me to be used most often to describe one's sexual orientation, Religion, Sex, age, ethnicity and so on but I would guess that if you did the little exercise above you wouldn't write much of this. You might instead describe yourself as a Mother, a father, a brother or a sister, a husband, a wife, a partner, an employee, a retiree, self employed maybe. Perhaps you're able bodied, or are you disabled. What are your hobbies, did you/would you have written anything about those? What makes you, you? What gets you excited - fired up? In my mind - that is what makes you, you.
For this month, Off The Record in Bristol are running with the theme of Identity and asking people to tweet them using the #OTRYouDoYou.
'How I see myself and how others see me may not fit. For example, individuals may see themselves as high achievers, worthy of promotion, yet be viewed by their employers as less than successful.' (The Open University)
We all have different 'parts' of us and this might change from hour to hour, day to day or moment to moment. These might be different emotions. The angry part of you, the sad part, the bored bit of you, the excited piece of you, the happy you etc. All of these segments of us form part of our identity. This identity is pretty fluid, right? It's not fixed and rigid. What happens if we don't like the identity we have? Counselling with me can help you work out what you like about your identity and how you can be more of the person you want to be rather than the person we think we should be.
If you're struggling to work out what you want from or you feel if you feel like there is a difference between who you want to be and the self that you let others see then why not contact me today to see how I can help you to be the best version of you? You can contact me using the details on the main page of my website. My contact details are also shown at the top left of this page. We can discuss how counselling can help you with a free initial telephone conversation of up to 20 minutes.
References and Resources
Elaine Dundon. 2018. To Live With Meaning, Shed Your Masks. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-search-meaning-after-age-50/201805/live-meaning-shed-your-masks?collection=1116284. [Accessed 6 July 2018].
OTR Bristol. 2018. OTR on Identity – You Do You!. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.otrbristol.org.uk/2018/06/identity/. [Accessed 21 July 2018].
The Open University. 2016. Identity in question. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/people-politics-law/politics-policy-people/sociology/identity-question/content-section-0?intro=1. [Accessed 14 July 2018].