Reclaiming Your Personal Identity or Self-Identity – Sarah Ban Breathnach

The easiest way to reclaim your personal self-identity is to not lose your sense of self in the first place! But, it’s almost inevitable that women lose themselves in the hustle and bustle of family, work, and life. Here are a few thoughts on keeping your personal identity, based on inspiration from Sarah Ban Breathnach.

“One of the most important milestones we’ll hit along the way is the moment when we finally own our own unique point of view and realize how priceless it is,” writes Ban Breathnach in Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy.

Keeping your self-identity involves honoring and expressing your own unique point of view – which can be alot harder than it sounds! Especially because losing yourself is so easy:

“The greatest danger, that of losing one’s own self, may pass off quietly as if it were nothing; every other loss, that of an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. is sure to be noticed.” – Soren Kierkegaard.

It’s insidious and gradual, this losing of self. Just a speck at a time and suddenly there’s fuzzy grey matter where your self used to be, sort of like your sock gradually thinning until there’s a hole where your heel once rested. A speck at a time, you could lose your self. It’s relatively easy to detect and even prevent the formation of a hole in your sock, but how, exactly, do you recognize and hold on to the specks of your self? I’m not sure. When figuring out how to hold on to our self-identity, perhaps we should start with the end result – the loss of your self-identity – and work our way to the beginning.

Keeping Your Self-Identity – Sarah Ban Breathnach

In my marriage so far my greatest fear is being In Charge of the House.

To me, being In Charge of the House means knowing where everything is all the time, from the cottage cheese (easy) to the Murphy’s Soap (not so easy). It means taking over the laundry, cooking, groceries, dusting and wiping tables counters stovetops sinks bathtubs. It means organizing meals when I’m not around at dinnertime, or at least making food suggestions. It means making sure we don’t run out of oatmeal, chocolate chips, flour, or oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. It means making all the dentist or doctor appointments. It means ironing stuff.

To me, being In Charge of The House represents a loss of self-identity. But, keeping your self-identity for some women is being in charge of the house – because we’re all unique. If you’ve lost your sense of self, you might find 4 Ways to Reconnect With Who You Were – Shirley Valentine helpful.

Be in Charge of Fulfilling Your Dreams

I want to be in charge of fulfilling my dreams and getting what I want out of life, not the filling the fridge! I see so many moms take complete, full-time care of their homes, husbands and grown children for decades. How did it come to be? Did they succeed in fulfilling their girlhood dreams – and if so, bravo! – or did they quietly drift into their lives, not realizing they could be losing themselves speck by speck?

Kierkegaard’s belief that our selves “pass off quietly as if it were nothing” makes sense because it’s difficult to recognize loss when it occurs just a speck at a time. Holding on to your self-identity involves protecting each piece of yourself.

Finding Yourself a Speck at a Time

If we lose our selves speck by speck, then can’t we rediscover our selves speck by speck? I believe the technical term is “respecking your self” by holding on to your self-identity. I also believe the “inconsequential” actions gather strength and power, enough to thrust you into exciting adventures!

“Respecking” your self involves discovering what you really think, and then – when you’re ready – sharing it with your colleague, friend, spouse, child, or parent. It’s realizing that instead of working you’d rather be reading dancing gardening running daydreaming swimming – and doing it even just for half an hour. It’s heeding what you already know: what you want to do, how you want your life to be, who you are, and with whom you want to spend your time…and speck by speck creating, saving, recreating and just plain being yourself.

“Respecking” your self is how you hold on to your self-identity.

What do you think — are you focused on reclaiming your personal identity? I welcome your thoughts and questions below…

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