Grief and Identity Changes

Who am I seems to be a question that feels elusive like a squirrel chasing its tail.

On the other hand we think / say we know ourselves so well.

Then there is a significant situation, experience, change in our lives and it’s like starting all over again.

The incident that has the significant impact can be simple – day in day out situation to the rest of the world, or it can be a major life experience.

Whichever it is we have to integrate the information, the experience, the role, the responsibilities, the loss, or change into who we are, how we see ourselves.

The reality is our identity is an evolving process.

During significant adjustment periods we may feel a loss of who we were.  There is an actual grieving process.

Many times the anger and the depression are recognized.  The anger and depression are identified as emotions and the resulting behaviors are something that needs to be dealt with.  However, the source – loss of a facet of ourselves which defines who we are – is not acknowledged.

Without awareness and acknowledgement of this loss we flounder in how we interact in the world.

Grief is associated with the loss of a loved one.  Grief is also the loss of a life style in a natural disaster. Grief is also experienced as we change through roles in life, life experiences, a disability or a chronic disease process.  We have the loss of who we were and who we thought we would be.  We move on with life.  Who we are is always evolving.

With awareness of grief we can integrate the new us. We can integrate the new experience, the new role, and the differences in function and choose how we want to express ourselves.  WE are not defined by the changes and yet they are a part of us.  When we integrate the facets of our lives and our personal characteristics, we choose how to define ourselves, who we are and who we will be.

Our identity is always evolving and part of that evolution is grief.

 

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