How we see ourselves

Reflections of the Past by Tom Hussey

Disruptive change challenges our identity. This pandemic is certainly such a disruption.

As life has become more restricted, this has narrowed our range of identities. This is worth noting and investigating. How we see ourselves, and how we talk about ourselves carries a lot of psychological weight.

If you identify with just one or two roles in life, then if things aren’t going so well in those domains there is a risk that you will internalise those struggles (this is shit, therefore I am shit). It’s great being ‘just’ a pop-star if you’re #1 all the time but when the attention evaporates, does the ‘feel good’ go with it?

If you’re finding this second year of pandemic life a bit heavy, it may be worthwhile to reflect on your relationship with your various identities. You may notice that some aspects of your pre-Covid life, especially those with social interaction and adventure, feel like they’re no longer part of who you are.

Even if this brings sadness, it’s a useful realisation as it reminds us that there’s more to us than Zoom calls and never-ending domestic chores.

Here’s a challenge that may well be helpful. Describe yourself with at least ten identities. Most people can get to five easily enough but slow down as the number rises. As an example, maybe you’re an accountant, a mother, a tennis player…..and so on. Give it a shot, you’re likely to be grateful you did.

You are greater than any transient set of circumstances. Never forget that.

Of course, you may well be a toad.


This post was adapted from one of Aodan’s Sunday morning newsletters, eagerly anticipated by hundreds of readers. Give yourself the gift of that weekly wisdom by signing up here.

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