Loss of Self

Well I’ve been afraid of changing ’cause I’ve built my life around you…~Stevie Nicks

Have you ever had a chance, forced or through reflection, to take a step back from yourself and ask if you literally have built your life, your essence of ‘self’ around one person or persons? Maybe your parents, a spouse, or even your children… Wonder…does your state of mind depend on theirs?  Hmmm, and what about your job? Do you think your job defines you? You may not think so on the surface, that’s ridiculous, but you might be surprised. 

I know I certainly was. Because I did both. You think I would have learned my lesson the first round…

Flash 2009, greatest financial collapse since the Great Depression. Yes my family were very much in the trenches with the lot of millions of other poor souls. My husband and I both lost our jobs. Never saw it coming. What I also never saw coming was the total loss of identity I would experience because I was no longer a ‘XYZ employee’. Yes, I was forced to realize that I had built up my self-worth, who I was, my identity, was all wrapped up into what I did for a living.  And since I no longer had that, I was lost and despondent for a while. I vowed then and there that I would never let that happen to me again. Never would I become what I did for a living. And I’ve kept that promise.

Now flash late 2013.  My marriage being pushed to edge of a cliff that only dropped into an abyss.  Little did I realize we’d been on that ridge since the beginning of time… I asked myself so many times, what could I have done differently, why am I not enough, what’s wrong with me, why doesn’t he love me, why, why, why.  Oh how I tore myself apart that year, pushing, grappling, clawing my way away from that cliff for us. Then something really funny happened to me… I stopped fighting. I literally stood up, dusted off the dirt, walked to the edge of the cliff, said a big fuck you, and jumped. That’s the point that I realized my entire self, my happiness, my worthiness, hell even my mood, depended on my husband. And the moment I realized that, I chose to stop. Right that instant. And I was free…liberated, the weight gone. I was flying and had no doubt I would land on my two feet when I got to the bottom and I would be ok.  It never was an abyss, I only thought it was because life without him was (I thought) a void of nothing.  Funny thing when you jump by the way… when you think you just left what you thought you wanted behind, you land exactly where you always wanted to be and should have been all along. 

What’s relevant is the jump.   

Those two situations changed everything for me, especially the latter. My entire axis shifted forever, as many traumatic life events tend to do to people.  My goal for sharing this with you is my absolute hope that you will not wait for trauma to occur in your life before you shift your own axis. What defines your ‘self’ is NOT how you earn your paycheck and is NOT the reflection you see when you look into another’s eyes. 

I think that’s why I am where I am today, looking for my purpose and my passion. Because I am looking in only my own mirror to define who I am. For the first time in my life. 

This time I ask a question I don’t want you to answer to me; I don’t matter. What matters is you. 

Can you truly say to yourself that you define yourself through your eyes only? Not your boss, not your parents, not your friends, not your spouse, not even your children. You are your first love, never forget it. 

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9 comments

  1. “When you think you just left what you thought you wanted behind, you land exactly where you always wanted to be and should have been all along.”

    Brilliant. Your post took me back to some pretty dark days, but you know what? I jumped. And I saved my life, all by myself. All the bad stuff delivered me to the right address at last. Go, me. And go, you, Amanda! Thanks for your honest, brave post. A little reminder here and there is a good thing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am so glad you jumped!!! I didn’t mean to take you back to dark times, but it’s good to know you were able to look at it and remind yourself that you DID that and thank the Lord above you did. I saved myself for sure, I can’t describe how great it is to see only my eyes looking back at me In the mirror-ah I was so blind for so long. If only o could go back and teach my 20 year old self the wisdom I have now… Lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Funny thing is that now, those days are such ancient history that it truly takes some conjuring to revisit them. And THAT is a pretty cool epiphany to realize. Unfortunately, our younger selves probably wouldn’t listen to our seasoned veteran selves anyway, right? We have to do what we do to get the smarts we get by doing what we do. . . HEY! That might be a post title some day! Looking back is nowhere near as painful with those years under my belt. And as I write that, I hope that becomes the case for my maneuvering of my son’s disease.

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  2. I am trying but it is so hard. I have spent most of my life living up to a reputation or being what someone else wanted. Now I am changing I am still struggling with “me” and have a long way to go. I know I am a better man than I was, a different and kinder man but I think I still like to please others before I please myself and that is a faint that must stop…. But then by pleasing certain others, I am pleased….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s more a matter of is your feelings about yourself dependent on how others view you. I imagine you please yourself by pleasing others, but are not necessarily defined by their opinions on the matter.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think we all have a tendency to define ourselves over time by the things in our lives that are strong enough to seem constant, even though they can slip away at any time. It’s hard to realize something like that is happening when it happens subtly, little by little. I did that with my career and with an unhealthy relationship as well. Sometimes it takes those hard, emotional situations for us to wake up and get back on track to being our truer stronger selves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right! It’s amazing that we can immerse ourselves so thoroughly and not even realize it. I’m so aware of it now though, and hope I will always be.

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