The age old question of “Who am I” is a question all must wrestle with. Based on that understanding, individuals will provide the perception for others.
Webster defines identity as “sameness of essential or generic character in different instances”. As we learn more about the individual, we view their identity. Another way to look at identity is how the individual portray themselves. I know many who use their job as their identity. They are very good at work, but outside of the environment, become nervous, losing confidence and become very self-conscience.
I have also seen many mothers portray their identity as ‘the mom’. Yet, when their kids reach the age of leaving the home, these same mothers feel like their identity is being removed. What will they do now?
The issue of the individual becomes an identity crises. Webster defines identity crises as, “personal psychosocial conflict especially in adolescence that involves confusion about one’s social role and often a sense of loss of continuity to one’s personality”.
Over time, I have had to change my role in the work force. Doing so, I had to change my identity to some extent. This change can be uncomfortable. Everyone deals with it differently. However, I like to say, “you have to ride the wave or be crushed by it”. The meaning is change is inevitable. You have to adapt, or you will be left behind.
I write this for those going through a crises in their identity. Whether it is a change in work, kids leaving the home, or another need for change, I suggest you take a breath. It can be done, but will take adjusting.
When I refer to a change in identity, I do not mean a change in your personal beliefs, or memories. I am referring to the necessity to promote another side of you.
As an example, in the workforce, I have been a CNA, X-ray tech, developer, and support personnel. My role has changed over time, and those perceiving me have viewed my identity differently. However, at the core, I still assist others in helping provide them a need.
I find it more difficult to remove old bad habits that are part of my psyche. These tend to follow you, regardless of your identity/role change.
Lately, I have attempted to dip a toe in writing. In nearly every story, a character must go through a change. Their self-identity is questioned, and the individual must review and acknowledge who they are. Then based on an internal or external conflict, the character develops.
What fascinates me, is the story reflects us in the real world. We are much more complex, and have multiple sides to our identity. Yet, as a reader, we tend to review the character, finding a similarity and falling in love with it.