Identity May 15th, 2018
By J.M. Strasbourg
Are you who you are because you are identified with someone else or because they are identified with you? Has your identity been confused with someone else because people can’t think of you as your own entity without another person being “attached” to you? Separation anxiety is hard enough to deal with but losing your identity in the process is much harder to overcome.
If you are with someone for an extended period of your life, you start to become associated with them in the eyes of others. If something happens that separates you from that person; it is hard for your friends and family to start to see you without your partner. They don’t seem to see you as an individual any longer. They can’t remember a time before your partnership with that person. Maybe you can’t see yourself that way anymore either. It can be a difficult task to regain your sense of self after being part of a couple and going back to being single. Many people struggle with restoring their identity after a long union with and then separating from another person. It doesn’t help that those around you don’t see you as your own person. It is even worse that you can’t get through the day without thinking of the person who used to be with you.
You hear a song that sparks a memory of a particular time. You read an article that prompts you to recall something that was important to you both when you were together. You see another couple holding hands in the park on a crisp fall day amid the falling leaves and remember that it was once you and your lost love doing the same thing. You see a movie that makes you emotional because “He/she would have loved that.” You wish that they were they to share it with you. These things make it hard for anyone to regain their sense of self. How can you put it behind you? You can’t put it behind you; not completely, you just go on. The trick is to keep your memories of the past with the love you lost. Hold them close and dear. They are a part of who you are.
Your memories with that person don’t define you; they are only part of the definition. Just as your past relationship with another person was part of your life doesn’t make up your identity. It is now part of who you were. In time, you will begin to see yourself as an individual again. The people around you will start to see you that way too. Be patient. In the meantime, find something to do that satisfies your soul. Find something you’ve always wanted to conquer but never had the time or inclination to do before and do it. If you look into yourself by doing something you love, you will start to recover your identity. You were someone before the other someone. You will never be that person again because you have grown and changed over time. You will, however, discover a part of yourself that was lost or perhaps you didn’t know was there in the first place.
Many songs have been written about “without you” syndrome. Without you, I’m nothing. Without you, I can’t go on. Without you, my heart is broken. And so on. You are something, you can go on, and your broken heart will heal. I know it’s hard. I know it’s easy for people to say, “Get over it and move on!” The ones saying that have never had to deal with it, or never got over it themselves. I say, don’t get over it. If you have been a part of something that has affected you so deeply, you should keep it. Chances are it was something special and you are lucky to have been part of it. If you are really lucky, you will have that kind of love in your life again. But it will be because of who you are, not who you were with your last/lost love. When you regain your identity, your own sense of self, embrace it.