What we think about ourselves can – and does – play a large part in everything we do. Identity is important because in a lot of ways it influences how we live.
Identity is who we were created to be. It’s what sets us apart from others and includes the qualities, beliefs, personality, and expressions that make us unique.
Football was such a huge part of my life. So, when it was gone, I really believed my life was over. I clearly remember thinking “It’s never going to be as good as Michigan State.” Emotions like embarrassment and shame, made me feel like I was not good enough, and not worthy of anything good. I truly thought nothing good would ever work out for me.
I believed that because I’d made mistakes it somehow meant I was disqualified for the rest of my life. It made me feel hopeless too. And what’s worse, I felt like I was helpless to change my circumstances.
In reality, none of that was true! But our emotions are sometimes driven by how we feel about ourselves inside. In my journey of pain into purpose, I’ve learned that my emotions can fool me into thinking things about myself that are just not true. And, what I now know is that a lot of other folks have the same experience.
Life can be tough, and sometimes what we go through, and the choices we make can make us feel like we aren’t worth much. The thing is, our value isn’t based on how we feel. And, it doesn’t matter if our difficult circumstances are because of something we did, or because of things completely out of our control… The fact is, regardless of what’s going on in our lives, how we feel about ourselves should not change.
Having a strong identity is a big factor in success. Here’s why.
Identity issues can cause us to make poor choices. There are many times when the decisions you make are based on how you see yourself. If you don’t think you’re worth much, you’re probably going to assume what you do doesn’t matter. That can cause you to do things you shouldn’t. And the trouble with that is, the more mistakes you make, the worse you’re going to feel.
Identity issues can also cause you to have unhealthy relationships. If you are struggling with who you are, it will usually show up in the people you connect with. Sometimes it’s because the people you hang around are even more insecure than you are. Other times it’s because they put their mess on you. That’s because they feel bad about themselves and they want to make you feel bad, too.
Even romantic relationships can be affected. Usually, if there’s emotional, mental, or verbal abuse, one or both people have issues with their identity.
So, what do you do? First, you need to take a long hard look in the mirror. Here’s a few ways you can know if your identity is compromised:
- You are not keeping your word.
- You are making poor choices.
- You say things you don’t mean.
- Your relationships are not working.
- You people please.
- You have a wall up.
So, here’s the good news. Once you clearly see the problem, you can begin to make changes to improve how you see yourself. There are many ways to take steps to become your true, authentic self.
The important thing to know is that you alone will have to make the choice to change. Many times, there are people who think they can save you or change you, but they can’t. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – who you hang around with matters! Look for people that will raise you up and hold you accountable.
This is important stuff! You need a strong identity in order to make the right kind of choices. And having a healthy view of who you are will go a long way to helping you have positive relationships.
I know this was true for me. As my life changed, I eventually came into a healthier identity. I began to realize who I was created to be and to understand my value as a person. My life doesn’t have to be a wreck. I don’t have to treat others badly or let people walk all over me. Now I know I do deserve to have good things in my life.
It’s up to you, but I encourage you to make a commitment to change. When you know who you are, your life will change dramatically.