“If you look to someone else to establish your identity for you, losing that person can really make you feel destroyed.” ~ How to Be Your Own Best Friend by Newman & Berkowitz
I know for 33 years, before my midlife divorce, my identity was wrapped up in being Mrs. T.G.S. That’s who I was… T. S.’s wife. That’s how I mainly defined myself. And when that relationship ended, I’ll admit, I felt destroyed and betrayed and defeated and just about every other negative emotion you can think of because of that rejection. But I also defined myself as my children’s mother, and my parents’ daughter and my brothers’ sister, and my friends’ friend.
Those titles describe a certain reality. However, who we are goes way, way beyond those titles. Who we are is a complete whole competent person who enjoys those relationships, but who also lives above those relationships. If we don’t discover who we are outside of our connections, we lose our own conscious understanding of self. I deeply embrace my relationships, but I am not my relationships.
Regardless of what happens in all of those interactions, I am first of all a completely, totally loved and cherished child of the living God of the universe. I have been blessed with unique and powerful traits that are mine alone and that are given to me for a purpose that enriches my relationships but is not restricted by them. The important thing is, God created me and loves me completely regardless of what happens in any of my human contacts.
That unrestricted love gives me the freedom to completely and fully love others in a way that gives them the freedom to accept that love …. Or reject it. However, if they reject it, that doesn’t diminish me. I will be okay whatever they decide to do with the love that God has given me to share. It is the freest, most confident, powerful way to live because no person’s actions can destroy who I am …. A beloved child of God who is confident and complete in that constant love that can never be destroyed.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us …” ~ 1 John 4:10a (NIV) (and that love becomes more real to us the more we love others … regardless of what they do with that love!)