This teaching is powerful and I would venture to say, the most important concept I teach.
I had the pleasure of speaking to at a training of Lupus support group leaders, who also had Lupus. After listening to a presentation about working with politicians to increase funding and awareness of Lupus, it reminded me that it is very easy to be pulled into reaction when we are personally affected by something–in this case, Lupus.
I am sure you are sitting at the edge of your seat waiting to hear my pearls of wisdom–I can only hope 🙂 I’m getting there.
First I want to share two personal experiences.
Experience 1: My own Lupus diagnosis
When I was diagnosed, my focus was on how to help myself and minimize medications. Over time, I became attached to the struggle. It also gave me a few perks–being treated with kid gloves as people were concerned about my well-being. I started to forget who I was, not knowing what to do with myself as I improved.
Experience 2: My daughter’s long illness (no worries, she is doing well)
When my younger daughter was diagnosed with a serious illness, my role in life changed. I was a mom to 2 awesome children (they will agree wholeheartedly), a wonderful wife (if I do say so myself), an employee, daughter, sibling, and more–now I was a caregiver as well. It seemed all I could talk about and was being asked about was what was happening with my younger daughter and how our family was coping. It began to consume me, even though I was still juggling all of my other responsibilities. It was strange, every time my daughter was doing well, I felt lost. This spiral lasted for years. One moment I was a caregiver and the next, I wasn’t needed as much. After she finally went into remission I felt lost. If I am not a caregiver, then who am I?
Solution: You are so much more
When you feel lost, try this:
Visualize an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg is covered with your identities—who you think yourself to be: a parent, child, employee, employer, friend, teacher, athlete, and so on.
Consider this: What happens when one of your identities changes? You were healthy and now you are ill, your child goes to college and now you have no one to nurture, you were fired from your job, or you move. Who are you now?
The tip is only one ninth of what you see (I love the Internet; I feel so knowledgeable), and if you only focus on that small fraction, you will miss most of the iceberg. Now, take a look beneath the water’s surface. What will you find there? The iceberg, and it is massive.
Remember, you are so much more than you identities. No matter what is going on in life, take a moment and look beneath the surface. Remember the things that you enjoyed, and pick something simple to incorporate into your day. You will begin to remember who you are. Enjoy the journey!
*Stay tuned–next week you will hear from a client who is living proof that You Are More than you imagine.