There is Immense Life Value in Truly Understanding Who We Are
“I don’t know who I am anymore” is often felt by many parents,
mothers in particular, struggling to adjust to life with children. Becoming a parent can feel like living a paradox of grieving the loss of who you once were, while clearly knowing that you wouldn’t trade your life with kids for anything. And this feeling can last for many years, beyond when the children were first born.
But here’s some insight: The only reason why parents feel like they’ve lost their identity is because they are still trying to identify with a person that doesn’t exist anymore.
Our brains love to identify with the past. Feeling lost is just our mind’s way of saying it has lost its ability to connect with our true selves.
Identity challenges often appear during times of change; and life has changed as a result of parenthood. We cannot prevent or control this transformation in our lives, but as parents we can learn how to participate in this transition more consciously through identity awareness and acceptance, rather than being unconsciously carried down the river of change.
When becoming a parent, we need to learn to first accept that who we once were has changed. Our identity isn’t lost, it’s just buried under nappies and school books.
The second step is to slowly start to find ourselves again.
Knowing What Identity Is
Our identity refers to the parts of us that develop over time in response to the external world and our journey through that world. Living in a world full of distractions, we become increasingly disconnected from ourselves.
Our identity is made up of 5 key areas; personality, interests and hobbies, values and beliefs, occupation, and talents and skills.
Knowing Your Personality
Our character strengths are the defining parts of our personalities that form our identity. By clearly identifying what our core, personal character strengths are, we can use them to redefine who we are, what we want from life, and how to get where we want to be.
The VIA Institute has developed the world’s most recognised, psychometrically validated survey to help people identify their personal character strengths. The full survey is approx. 90 questions long and on completion you get a personalised report outlining your 24 character strengths, in order.
Once a parent knows their top five character strengths, ask:
- – Do the character strengths in your top five surprise you?
- – How do you think you currently use them as a parent? As a partner? At work?
- – What might be the upsides and downsides of your character strengths?
Studies now show us that identifying and using our own personal character strengths can bring meaningful enrichment to our lives by teaching us how to achieve life satisfaction, live a more fulfilling life and live more passionately.
Knowing Strengths are a Valuable Currency
Money can buy us only so much in life; even The Beatles reminded us that it can’t buy us love.
Research in the field of positive psychology shows us that money can only buy us short-lived happiness through possessions and holiday experiences. Don’t get me wrong; money is still important. But with money, we acquire it, store it, and then spend it on ourselves or others. We acquire wealth not only because of our current needs, but also to have the ability to use it when we need to or want to down the road for reasons that we currently don’t know. We try to build our bank accounts for future use.
Our personal character strengths are a psychological currency that gets deposited into our psychological bank account to be used for the purpose of living healthily, happily and successfully.
Our top 5 character strengths are our strongest parts of our personality, come most naturally to us, and we can “buy” the most life enrichment with them by deliberately using them to make a deposit in our psychological bank account.
Knowing How to Spend Your Currency
- – Happiness; Using our top 5 character strengths in a way we never have before has been shown to increase wellbeing and decrease depression.
- – Positive Relationships; Studies have found that women score highest on different strengths to men, however, there are still similarities that they share. Recognition and appreciation of our partner’s character strengths assists in developing a better relationship and more commitment to our partners. The same philosophy can also be applied to any other type of relationship in our lives.
- – Managing Problems; Using character strengths helps in the development of resilience, which can buffer us from vulnerabilities that can lead to depression and anxiety, such as the need for approval and perfectionism.
- – Confidence; Researchers have found that people who know and use their character strengths experience a higher level of self-esteem and self-efficacy, which means that they feel good about themselves and have a sense of self-confidence in anything they apply themselves to. This can also help improve our ability to cope with stress, thereby decreasing the negative effects of stress.
- – Accomplish Goals; Understanding our top 5 character strengths can help us set goals that have meaning and purpose, and can assist with making greater progress on our goals through the strong passion that is connected with our individual top 5 character strengths.
Regardless of what your top 5 character strengths are, the benefits towards life satisfaction are in the character use.
Each and every one of us have unique personalities and interpretations of what happiness and wellbeing is; by using the strengths that come most naturally to us helps us create a life that we are satisfied with, proud of, passionate about and successful in.
If you need any help with creating a more passion-driven workforce, or would like to know more about our parent support programs, then please give us a call today on 0402 294 953. We’d love the opportunity to help!