Your Identity: Your Problems Do Not Define You - 5 Things to Consider

By Dominica


Last Updated: September 3, 2022

All of us are faced with problems from time to time.

Some may be little, and some may be huge. In fact, it’s likely you have faced plenty already along your life journey.

Regardless of how you’ve dealt with them in the past, you have an opportunity to view future problems or circumstances in a different, better way – without letting them become your identity.



5 Things to Remember: Your Identity is Not Defined By Your Problems

1. Defining Yourself

Years ago, I used to define myself largely by the problems I’d faced in life.

I had a victim mentality. Problems would arise and I’d think, “That figures. This always happens to me.” I got into the habit of letting tough circumstances define me.

What about you?

  • What do you do when problems arise?
  • Do you tend to fully identify with it and feel like a victim?

Or do you take time to step back and assess the situation?

The second scenario empowers you. You get to look at the situation as an opportunity for growth, rather than just let it overtake you.


2. Who Are You at the Core?

The key here is to get to know who you are at your core, underneath the problem, struggle, weakness, pain, etc. Build yourself up THERE.

For example, if your career aspirations have been thwarted by setback after setback, you may be tempted to think, “I’m a failure.” However, this is not true. Your identity is not the issue. Your problem is not your identity.

The problem is simply a prop that you can use as a springboard to learn some valuable lessons about yourself, others, and life.

Instead of saying, “I’m a failure,” say, “I am going to look at this problem through the eyes of optimism, and see what I can learn from it. I’m pressing on!”

Sure, it’s not fun to encounter various struggles or problems in life, but we do have a choice how we can face them. I’ve found that courageously facing them with a good dose of optimism helps a lot.


3. Don’t See Yourself Through the Lens of a Problem

Whether it’s anxiety, depression, a bad habit, poor relationship, lack of finances, and so on, refuse to identify and see yourself from the lens of your struggle. Watch your mindset and monitor your thought life.

  • What kinds of thoughts are running amok in your mind when you’re knee deep in a problem?
  • Are they predominantly negative or positive?
  • Are you identifying yourself with negative thoughts? (I’m weak. I’m a loser. I’m an idiot.)

If so, remind yourself that you are not your struggle. You are not your thoughts and you’re not your feelings. Your identity is outside of struggle!

Say the following often:

I am strength. I am wisdom. I am courage. I am potential.

When you go on associating your struggle or problems with your identity, you may find yourself quite sad or depressed. You may feel like giving up, and I understand because I’ve been there.

However, when you’re doing this, you’re wearing the wrong set of glasses.

Take off those “I am struggle,” glasses and put on “I do NOT let struggle define me,” glasses. As you do, you’ll immediately feel more empowered and able to tackle any adversity from the core strength of who you really are.

Build yourself up consistently. This way, when problems come at you, you’re more able to face them with wisdom and insight as your shield, and navigate around them successfully. Keep in mind it may take some practice.


4. Feed Your Mind Inspiring, Positive Things

You may want to start listening to or watching positive talks or videos regularly. The mind can be tricky. If we ignore it regularly, it tends to gravitate toward the negative. Have you ever noticed that?

If you talk to personal development experts, they’ll tell you that you must nourish the mind consistently with positive things in order to remain optimistic. Start searching YouTube for inspirational videos and listen to them regularly. You’ll feel a difference. 


5. Are You Facing a Problem Now?

  • Are you struggling with something right now?
  • Are you frustrated?
  • Are you experiencing a setback?
  • Is depression ruling your life?
  • Do you have an addiction?
  • Have you let any of these things become your identity?
  • Are you allowing the problem to define your entire life?

If so, try to remember that this problem is not your identity. It is something that is arising, but you are so much more than this issue.

Then, go within to get to know your true self better. Start building yourself up, identifying with your core, true nature – which is pretty amazing. Try different things to see what works for you. Some people like to read, while others enjoy watching educational videos.

Still others reach out for professional help from a counselor or coach.

The reality is that setbacks and problems may shape us, but they certainly don’t have to define us.

Photo by AlteredSnaps



3 comments on “Your Identity: Your Problems Do Not Define You - 5 Things to Consider”

  1. These daily motivations each day are very helpful and have helped me with my depression.The best one which spoke to me was do not define your identity with your past mistakes.I have been hard on myself with blaming my mistakes on myself. Thanks so much for sending these motivations each day.

    1. Absolutely Mae! We can't change our past, but we can learn from our mistakes. You don't have to hold onto them, and sometimes you need to forgive your past self in order to move on. But you can! You're not alone 🙂

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