Loss of identity is trending. Well, maybe not fully trending, but in the circles that I run in and the women I talk to, it’s at the root of everyone’s malcontent.
It’s a problem that many of us are way too familiar with. And the truth is, most of you simply push it down because the burdens of everyday life and taking care of others takes the first position.
The desire to please and give and do is unfortunately part of our DNA(and our culture) and because of that you wake up one day finding yourself either ready to slit your wrists or runaway and hide. Loss of identity is layered with years and years of that struggle to say what and how you feel.
I know it well and have experienced it on a number of occassions. The one that knocked me on my ass was when I decided, after 20 years building my lifestyle brand, Little Folk Art, Inc., it was time to take a pause. This came on the heels of the passing of my dad and I know it had something to do with it.
The darkness was blinding. Having three little ones at home, 10 years and younger, I had no choice but to push through it even though it was a daily struggle.
The sense of loss and loneliness prevented me from embracing all of the previous achievements and it took a cancer diagnosis in 2016 to snap me out of it.
Here’s how I overcame and so can you:
Focus on what was rather than what wasn’t. Take a look back on the previous 1 – 5 years and recognize the accomplishments. It’s super easy to highlight the failures or those promises you didn’t keep to yourself. Or the things on your “vision board” that didn’t manifest.
Identify the thoughts that held you back. No one is better than beating you up than you. You are your own worst enemy. As soon as you can pinpoint the thoughts in your head that hold you back and find ways to first identify them and then cook up a plan to divert them – you will be on the road to recovery.
Grade yourself. Take a look at the past year. Make a list of all the ways you were productive and created movement. I bet you will find something out about yourself that you completely forgot about. One thing I do to remind myself of the good stuff is by collage journaling. Having that visual to take me back to that moment in time is comforting.
Fast forward to a year from now. Future pace of what you want your life to look like 12 months from now. What goals can you set for yourself and what were some of the milestones that helped you get there. Write them all down. This is the beginning and the foundation for developing your “what’s next.”. Your next thing could be that very big thing you have only been fantasizing about.
Sacrifice something to get somewhere. In order for you to get to where you ultimately want to be you have to put yourself first. It might sound selfish, but it’s actually selfless. The more you can move closer to being that person that you fantasize about the better you are going to feel. And when you feel good inside it will penetrate all the relationships that circle around you. You will be a better mom, partner, friend, daughter and overall human.
Lean into the hurt and disappointment first. Then start to unpack all of it and one by one. Try and toss those beliefs about yourself aside. Next, replace those with what you have done and finally start to focus on who you want to be and where you want to go.
In breaking it down into small, micro bites – you will get there. I promise.
If this helped you in any way and you found some value in it, pass it on to someone who can use a little pep talk. If you have a thought or a question, I love to hear about them in the comments below. Let’s start the conversation there!
Lastly, if you are craving a little bit more and want to dive deeper, I have a cheat sheet filled with about 5 questions you can ask yourself to help move the needle.
P.S. If you want to listen to stories of women just like you who have sunk down that rabbit hole and found ways to dig themselves out of it, you can do so on my podcast. You can download and listen to all the episodes here.