Defining Our Identity

An excerpt from my book, Facing Our Fears. I hope you like it.

“Identity: I want more people to love themselves and be happy with who they are, but we need to be careful not to let just one thing define us. For example, those in recovery shouldn’t let their substance-use disorders define who they are, any more than someone with a health problem should allow the condition to define him or her. This also goes for people who allow one piece of their identities to define who they are.

Some let their recognition as a good parent, spouse, or person define who they are. Still, others let their jobs and job titles define them. And I think we’ve all seen people who allow fame and wealth to define who they are. What they’re really doing, though, is using some form of prestige or perceived honor to feel good about themselves, but this can let them down at times. People eventually retire, and for those who perceive themselves as good parents, spouses, and people, there can be times when they’re not. We’ve also learned of the unhappiness of more than a few celebrities over the years, and I’ve heard millionaires talk of how wealth didn’t necessarily bring them all the happiness they thought it would.

I understand why people like having some type of “special” identity. I know I did. However, as my beliefs changed, so did how I defined myself.

Today, I try to believe that no matter what our race, color, creed, or sexual preferences may be, we are all part of something bigger, and that loving myself and others defines me more than anything else.”

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