4 Steps to Escaping an Identity Crisis

Just when I think I’m enjoying a moment of peace, this happens. I have an ‘aha’ moment. Don’t ever leave me alone for too long with just my thoughts, k?!

Talking about what I identify with becomes an exposé on my life. Just as Shrek says he’s like an onion with many layers to peel back, I feel much the same. As I challenge myself to be different than I’ve been, a whole lot of stuff comes up for me.

What have I allowed myself to identify with, even subconsciously?

I’m in the way. When we were young our mom taught us to always be the first ones to allow others through a door, open it/hold it, or to instantly drop in behind her when we were walking down the street to allow others to pass (there were 5 of us kids so we took up a lot of room!). I took it to mean that I was in the way, that I wasn’t worth as much as those we were accommodating, not as having good manners. When at the mall or in a large crowd of any kind, I am still ever cognizant of feeling like I’m somehow in the way and I should be the one to get out of the way even if I’m encumbered with bags or am pushing a heavy cart. Like, immediately.

Who I am is wrong. I’m artsy and creative, a thinker and a dreamer. As a little girl I didn’t feel like any part of me was right. I didn’t fit in to the family norm. My sister and I have discussed this on occasion and she concurs. I was ‘different’ than the rest so as a result, I was teased and mocked for who I was.

Iyanla Vanzant wrote about  The Presumption of Wrongness – “My relationship and interactions with Grandma led me to believe that people with authority are mean, and no matter what you do, you cannot please them. In other words, no matter what, I was wrong. It’s one thing when what you do is wrong. Often, that can be corrected. However, when who you are is wrong, it’s an entirely different story. When who you are is seen as wrong, there is an assumption and presumption of guilt that covers not just who you are, but also everything you do. You feel it and others perceive it, whether they acknowledge it or not.”

“What do you have that I would want?” Wow. That’s quite the statement. It’s been a couple of decades since those words were spoken to me, and although there has been a measure of healing with the one who said it, it echoes in my ears when I’m feeling vulnerable and inadequate. “I guess I don’t have much to offer if someone’s willing to voice that thought,” is what I’ve identified with.


Are any of these beliefs and perceptions true? Of course not! But as I move in the direction of my purpose and my dreams, I must acknowledge this sneaky gremlin that is holding me back. It’s my own personal identity – that’s what!

Twice this week I was confronted with ideas related to how I perceive myself. One person said that I know who I’m supposed to be, then tried to correct it to I know who I am. I told her she was right the first time! A colleague told me I’m sitting on the sidelines, avoiding what I know to do and that I’m qualified to do it. Both bang on, both propelling me forward in what is clearly my current challenge.

So what do I do about it? If you’re connecting with my words, what will you do about it? Every one of us has some stinkin’ thinkin’ that we can work to get rid of. So how do we get past these *&!#@$(*#&% blasted identity beliefs?

  1. Reveal | Recognize the subtle patterns, the repetitive results and get them out in the open. Don’t hide them from your conscious mind or from others. When the dark recesses of our minds prevail, what hope of change do we have, really?
  2. Review | Write down the positive characteristics others have used to describe you. Find ways to describe a new identity that resonates with who you want to be. Often what others tell us just needs to be re-written in our own words.
  3. Release | One of the most powerful outcomes of revealing your inner struggles, once they’re named, you have increased strength and undoubtedly more oomph to take action.
  4. Rekindle | Every day, read the positive identities others have tagged you with until those re-write the recesses of your mind and they become the subconscious, rather than spinning on the proverbial hamster wheel year in and year out.

My mental re-write based on what I hear others express to me:

You are kind, thoughtful, intelligent, relevant, witty, qualified. You are enough. You are joy. You are the strongest and bravest person I know. You are perseverance, you exude it. You have an amazing capacity for compassion. You are a role model and a mentor. Your children are so lucky to have a mom like you and you’re such a good friend. You are an earth angel, you’re a pearl and you are a guide for your children to be their best. You are someone I hope I can be when I need to be.

What identity crisis do you need to dig into and address? Share with me, let’s dig in together. I’ll tell you what – I am NOT living 2015 identifying with crap that serves no purpose – for me, or for my ‘others’. Life’s too short, darn it!

What about you?



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    "Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." ~ Jack Kerouac
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