When Problems Become a Part of Your Identity
The best way to live this is to accept what you can’t change and change what you can’t accept. In other words, there is room for being human and human error. You can retain a healthy amount of negative behavior and thoughts without concern or disruption. Just like some stress is healthy too.
It’s when you can honestly say, something in particular is BIG or a theme of problems is taking over your personality, not serving you at all. Perhaps too much negative behavior and thoughts are ruling your identity, your decisions. your home life, your relationships that you know you must find separation between your identity and your problems.
Problems shouldn’t plague you more than your enjoyment of life.
If you feel governed by your problems or they’ve moved into your mind without your permission, but they’ve been there long enough that they’re like friends or family, you might identify with your problems.
Once something takes root in your subconscious, we mistakenly identify with it. We don’t mind identifying with good, but it is still not our identity.
The longer you keep these associations, the more they become a part of your personality, your behavior, and your thoughts. That’s why most problems you have as an adult were incurred as a child; they’ve been around a long time.
The subconscious produces 90-95% of our thoughts and actions!
You’ve been programmed since birth and most of it unaware to you. If you experience struggle (behavior or problems that affect you negatively) it’s because you saw it somewhere. The subconscious is always taking notes.
You accepted a belief of struggle into your identity.
Maybe you witnessed it often, grew up with it, or were told ‘that’s the way life is’; one problem after another.
It’s time to change this once you become subject to something unwelcome or unpleasant as a result of your own behavior or actions.
The belief of struggle…
Perhaps you are someone who denies releasing the struggle because it has helped you achieve more. The biggest sign this no longer works for you is sheer exhaustion, achievement without fulfillment, and a pervasive lack of self-worth and gratitude.
“I reached a point where I had basically achieved much of what I wanted in life, but I still felt this impulse to keep striving from a place of lack and a belief that I needed something else to complete me. It was like a motor running. I realized this motor of struggle had been running my whole life. I had an interesting realization: struggle and striving felt good to me, this mode of struggle felt normal and very safe. What felt odd and uncomfortable was to NOT strive, but to simply BE.”
Struggles and programming in your past were not your fault or even your problems to solve.
If working on, and changing limited beliefs seems like a lot of hassle or effort, realize this; Problems and struggle deplete you. But also understand, you can let go as many, if not more, than what you must diligently resolve. SOME PROBLEMS ARE JUST WAITING FOR YOU TO LET GO! What a relief!
Life can be full of ease and joy…
Self-acceptance is the first step (listen to a guided meditation for self-acceptance). In psychotherapy you will be told that you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.This is rule number one!
You need to acknowledge and accept when your problems have become YOU or have seemingly served you well, but simultaneously ruined your energy, joy, and psyche.
If problems have become you, I don’t want you to focus on those particular problems anymore; the ones that slip into your thoughts too often. Forget about them as if you’re not going to do anything about them. This sounds counterintuitive, but this is part ‘accepting yourself’ and ‘releasing your problem identity’.
If there are problems in your life almost as old as you are, you have 4 choices, according to experts:
Solve the Problem (if you haven’t initiated this by now, you likely believe you need the problems in some way, as related to your identity).
Change Your Perception of the Problem (see old, and reoccurring problems, as things of your past in which you had no control, but now have control to let go. Perhaps you need to learn the lesson and move on).
Radically Accept the Situation (this is your life, and perhaps you are not ready to do anything with your problems right now. Accept this as your current situation. Keep in mind it is “current”, not a forever state of being. Nothing is).
Stay Miserable. (not the ideal option, but you might be settled here- it feels comfortable and agonizing all at once. If you’re done with this way of being, use options #1-3).
The old and familiar problems you’ve become accustomed to have simply settled into your subconscious. One aspect of becoming a mature adult is releasing some things you learned in childhood.
Relearn, and reapply, mature material and wisdom as you reassess the world through adult eyes. You’ve learned not everything is as true as it was when you were a child.
Replace old info with new info. You have new wisdom.
A simple exercise:
Write down WHO you are; how you identify yourself (American, catholic, man, woman, husband, mother, employee, writer, artist, engineer, soul-searcher, dreamer, etc.). Stay objective. When you are finished with your list, look it over and see where ‘problems’ fit into your identity. Unless you wrote down complainer, whiner, negative Nellie, jerk, you have visual proof from your list that your problems are not logically connected to your identity. They might not even show up at all!
Next time you beat yourself up with your ongoing problems, replace negative talk simply with one or a few of you identities on your list.