Such nagging thoughts creep up from time to time when things go “wrong.” Don’t they?
You know the thoughts I’m talking about.
The one whispering you’re a failure. The other one whispering you’re so far behind in life there’s no way you can catch up.
These thoughts leave you thinking there has to be more to life than this.
You find it hard to ignore these them and usually give in. You’re ashamed of it all, feel doomed, and wonder “what will happen now.”
Do Your Circumstances Define You?
You’ve allowed your unemployment “circumstances to define you.” You feel you must have some kind of title or achievement to identify you.
You might not realize it, but you’ve misplaced your identity and self-worth in temporary things. You’re going through it and view yourself from the perspective of lack: lack of accomplishments, lack of careers and job titles, lack of successes, and lack of abilities.
Don’t mentally beat yourself up, though. This is such an easy trap to fall into as our society identifies us by what we do. By our successes.
Despite what happens in this life, you shouldn’t tie your identity to your circumstances.
You’re not them.
Please believe this and make corrections to your misplaced identity.
You can do it!
Consider My Example
I had to do so myself.
Sometime prior to going public about my challenges here on the blog, I dealt with the identity issue. Prior to unemployment, I didn’t realize it, but I identified with my career choice and accomplishments.
Then, in the initial stage of unemployment, I identified with my inabilities and inadequacies (again I didn’t realize it). I questioned my value—and saw myself as “just someone without a paying job.”
I reached the point of doubting I was good enough. I also felt like a failure.
This is the downside of identifying with external things. When you identify with them, you believe your value is gone without them.
However, as I progressed through this season of unemployment, I recognized what was going on and reconnected with my true identity. In case you’re wondering, it has nothing to do with what I do or accomplish.
I came to terms with this fact: though I’m experiencing the challenges of long-term unemployment and job searching and accept them, these challenges don’t define me as a person.
Heads Up: You Aren’t Your Circumstances
So I say to you: there’s no need to be ashamed of your situation.
If you’ve made your circumstances your identity, one of most important lessons you can learn during this tough time is: your “unemployment challenge” isn’t “who you are;” your “financial challenge” isn’t “who you are;” your “career challenge” isn’t “who you are.”
I want you to remember this!
Defining yourself based on your circumstances only ends in them overcoming you. When they overcome you, you have no strength to fight and defeat them.
Don’t make this choice. Choose instead to fight.
Believe you’ll overcome these challenges and consider the following 2 thoughts:
Your Circumstances Will Change—Eventually. Even though things are tough right now, there’s an expiration date for your unemployment hardship. You’ll make it through so don’t focus on what’s missing in your life right now.
Focus On Who You Are. Knowing now your circumstances don’t define you, focus on who you are.
- You’re a human experiencing an unemployment challenge.
- You’re a human experiencing a financial challenge.
- You’re a human experiencing a career challenge.
By focusing on who you are, you accept your challenges for what they are and seek solutions.
Your Identity Is Who You Are
Let go of the view you’re your circumstances.
Take some time to think about who you are.
What do you enjoy doing?
What motivates you?
And, when your identity is questioned by someone again, you can answer from a perception of who you are and not just what you do.
From Me to You: Please make the corrections to those distorted and incorrect definitions of yourself as soon as possible. You’re more than your circumstances so don’t link your identity and worth to them.