Identity, rediscoveredJul 15, 2022
Who are you, now?
If your identity was seamlessly intertwined with that of your spouse, you might wonder who you are without him. One of the many secondary losses is having to figure out “me” separate from “we.”
Often, we outsource certain items to our spouse, (and they to us) from practical day-to-day tasks to our beliefs about ourselves.
Perhaps one or more of the scenarios below describe your relationship:
- He was the source of your own self-confidence, because if he believed in you, then you could borrow his belief.
- He was the extrovert who navigated social settings with ease, relieving you of those tasks entirely.
- He was the one who recognized your hard work, commented on your efforts, and made you feel appreciated.
- He made the investment decisions, and when it came to buying a new home, he handled the logistics.
Essentially, parts of your identity depended on him (and vice versa).
The loss of a spouse shines a spotlight on the void, especially as it pertains to our own identity. It highlights the things we believe to be true about ourselves. It can sound like:
I’m not good with finances.
I’m not good at making new friends.
I’m not a confident person.
These descriptions sound permanent and unchangeable as if they’re due to a genetic deficiency. When in truth, these are simply well-practiced thoughts.
Notice the voids your spouse filled for you.
Notice the ways in which you describe yourself.
Rather than saying, “This is who I am,” instead consider that this is merely your most practiced way of thinking about yourself.
While you may have evidence that makes it seem true, how is it serving you, now, in life after loss?
If your thoughts about you seem like an impassable roadblock, please know that they are nothing more than your most practiced thoughts. Thoughts are always 100% optional. Some are not true, and some do not serve you well.
If you’re ready and willing to challenge how you see yourself, my coaching program called Life Reconstructed can help. It’s six months of private and group coaching and you’ll receive life changing tools that are perfect for the uniquely difficult journey of grieving a spouse. Simply click here and we’ll see if it’s a fit.
Learn more about Life Reconstructed.
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