Brad is a very happy and successful person; he has a big salary, his wife loves him, and he has accomplished most of what he set out to achieve in life. Everything in Brad’s life was perfect and this was reflected in the way he walks and talks and in his generally confident attitude.
One day while he was happily driving his way home, he received a phone call from his wife,
“Brad, I don't want you in my life anymore. I know that this may come as a surprise for you, but it's my final decision.”
His wife hung up, and suddenly Brad felt worthless; he felt that all of his confidence and happiness had been lost. Ever since that day, Brad became an unhappy, desperate and bad-tempered person.
What happened to Brad? What happened to his confidence and strength of character?
What happened to Brad is that his wife's call caused him to lose his sense of identity.
Identity, or psychological identity, is your capacity for self-reflection and awareness. People usually acquire their identities through reflecting on the tasks they do and the objects they identify themselves with. For example, if you asked someone “who are you?” and he replied saying “I am the restaurant’s chef“, then this person identities himself with his job and thinks of himself as the chef instead of Robin or Tom.
* Small children who try to imitate their fathers or dress in the same style as their mothers are doing so because they are attempting to identify with their parents.
* A person who proudly speaks of his profession and who answers the question of “who are you” with his job’s title is a person who is identifying himself with his job.
* A person who proudly drives his big car may be identifying with his car. He is showing off, not just to show he's rich, but because he thinks of himself as the “Big Car Owner”. This is usually the same person who you will find shyly walking with his head down when he suffers a financial crisis that forces him to replace his car with a smaller one. This happens because he identified himself with the car and so when the car was lost, he found himself with no identity: he used to be the "Big Car Owner", now he is nothing.
What About Brad’s Identity?
Now let’s get back to Brad. Brad identified himself as the “successful person”; the way he talks and walks were a reflection of this identity. If you asked Brad "who are you?" he may reply saying, “My name is Brad and I'm the owner of that big famous business”. So what was Brad’s problem and why did his self-confidence desert him? Brad's problem was that he identified with a mortal object, namely success, and so as soon as the object was lost or died away, he lost his identity and felt worthless.
Identity Crisis is a psychological term that describes someone who is in the constant state of searching for his identity. So unlike its name identity crisis doesn’t refer to real crisis but it just describes a normal stage of personality development. Now the real problem happens when the person fails to find a suitable identity and ends up with a fragile identity.
As soon as that person faces a big life challenge he will usually lose this fragile identity and ends up searching for a new one. Haven’t you ever met a friend who always seems to be trying new roles over and over without adhering to any of them? This is usually the behaviour of a person who is suffering from an identity crisis. Identity crisis can give a powerful blow to your self confidence and your self image, and that’s why building a solid identity is something that can make you more confident and more solid when you face life challenges.
Ok, so How to build a Solid Identify?
As you saw in Brad’s story identifying with a mortal object (in this case his success in professional and family life) resulted in losing his identity when the object was lost. Brad should have identified himself with his skills and abilities instead of identifying himself with his achievements, because even if he lost his achievements his abilities and skills wont be lost, after all its his abilities and skills that made him succeed and so you he be identifying with the cause and not the effect.
If Brad identified himself as “a persistent, intelligent and strong person” he would have gotten over his his identity crisis and then had no problem in getting over his problem and in starting a new life.
One very good things for you believers is that you can identity with God!!
Who are you sir? “I am God’s Servant” . Can anybody Lose this identity? No, it’s the most solid identity that someone can ever acquire because in this case the person is identifying himself with an immortal, God himself!! People who identity themselves with god tend to feel more worthy because they have the belief that if they were not that important then God would have not created them.
Religion And Identity
What’s so bad is that some people get involved into new things just because they are trying to find an identity, a perfect example would be someone who tries to get deep into religion just to identify himself as a religious person or as a religious leader.
Of course I am in no position to say whether God want those people or not but what I can say is that the people who learned about religion because they really love God are much better than those who learned about religion just to find an identity.
Identifying with Objects
Some people go further and identity themselves with mobiles, cars and even places. What do you think makes someone creates a face book group called “I love star bucks” and what do you think makes other people join the group?
They all want to identity themselves with that relatively expense place to deliver the simple message “we are rich guys”. And out of those people am sure that there are ones who feel worthless and so they are trying to proof it false by appearing to be rich and stylish.
Btw, I joined that star bucks group, so am not saying that all people do it because they suffer from an identity crisis Smiling
Final Words About Identity
To summarize all of these lines, identify with an immortal and make sure you have a solid identity else you may find difficulties facing life’s challenges.
The more you make your identity externally dependant on your job, your wealth, your friend’s love or any external object the more you will be likely to lose this identity when you lose that external object, and the more you make your identity internally dependant the less likely you will suffer from an identity crisis.
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