Don’t Let Your Struggle Become Your Identity!

your struggle as your identity

(inspirational collages) 

This quote jumped from the digital page and captured by attention today.

We all struggle with things… but there’s a certain type of struggle that can “brand” you if you let it.  The big struggles. Overcoming a health crisis, deaths of friends or family, big financial hardships…natural disasters, public humiliation… There are things that we are served up that we just have to deal with whether we like it or not.

They color our conversations. They invade our life.  Even if we can find immense empowerment in the struggle, we refer to it constantly as if it’s our badge of honor.  As though it’s the one thing that makes us great.

In a sense it does make us great to go through these things.  But it isn’t great to let them paint  life in shades of adversity.

I have done this more than a few times.  When each of my parents died. Overcoming two illnesses. Getting through a big trauma.

My struggle was who I was, each time, and it was a source of pride.

And that’s not the point of life, is it?

I stopped wanting to be “the chick who went through hell and lived.” It almost welcomes more adversity at times to get so close to this concept. It is useful to refer to those stories from time to time, but it is not how I identify myself any more.

Are you letting your own struggle become your identity?

I bet- no matter how hard your circumstances may be or have been- that you have incredible talents, a brilliant personality, a big heart and a ton to give to life that has nothing to do with your struggle.

Why not let the hard times light a fire under that true mission?

xoxo Dana

Charin Adams July 31, 2014 at 4:22 pm

I had to re-pin this image when I saw you post it! This is such a good point…I was doing that without being conscious of it. Being abused in the past, etc. etc….and the really poignant example of it for me was that my husband’s ex-wife recently blamed him very publicly for a LIFETIME of her obesity. In a national book she’s saying that he caused all of it. Wild, and wildly untrue! But it caused me to think…have I ever done that? Have I blamed another person for “where I am now?” Well then. 🙂 Anyway, that was a lot of talking (haha) to say that this is brilliant, and thank you!

john January 8, 2016 at 3:55 am

That’s sweet Jana, but please do not preach. Sorry but you are not “the chick who went through hell and lived.” Your pain/grief of parents passing is expected, my condolences, but we all live it. To survive the loss of a loved one is never a “badge of honor”. Please do not advise in a generic fashion to those that have experienced catastrophic loss, such as parents that have lost a child or more, that it is a “source of pride”. It is nothing of the sort. Your tone is pretentious and condescending. I live on, but carry the loss forever. Living through the loss of my son does not brand me with a “badge of honor” and i am sure as hell not proud to have lived through it. It is always with me and something I have come to live with, not move one from. Getting through “Big trauma”…please. I understand you’re trying to be inspirational by thinking that the struggles you have worked through are exceptional, but look around. Please use exceptional individuals other than yourself as examples of life struggles and dealing with grief, unless you have the unfortunate consequence of dealing with catastrophic grief, and have learned to live with the loss.

danaclaudat January 25, 2016 at 5:13 am

Dear John, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve had many clients and friends- two in particular close to me, lose children and it’s nothing I can begin to fathom. Having been on my own deathbed three times and suffering through big trauma not just from the sudden, shocking loss of both parents suddenly and separately is not something I’m particularly proud of… but I am proud of how I navigated nearly ten years of an uphill battle. I see no value in defining one person’s grief as more valuable or more catastrophic than another’s. If you feel I’m condescending you have no need to read further.

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