Maintain your identity with these 7 easy tips that you can use every day.
Liane Lurie, Parktown-based clinical psychologist, notes that it’s important to maintain your own identity within the various relationships in your life.
She explains that your roles within each relationship in your life are likely to have an effect on how you identify with yourself and how your friends and loved ones see you.
‘It’s important to note that regardless of the roles you may have in your romantic or spousal relationship, or parent and child relationships, you’re not merely a function.’
Liane says it’s important that both you and your significant others see you as part of their lives, but also as having a unique and separate world that they can relate to and need to be sensitive towards.
We’ve put together a few easy ways for you to maintain your identity within your relationships every day.
In your romantic and spousal relationship
Share some of your partner’s interests but maintain the friends and activities you enjoyed before you and your partner became a couple.
1. See your friends
It’s good to have a close group of friends you can meet up with for a cup of tea and a good chat. You can talk to them about any insecurity you might be having and offer each other love and support.
2. Pamper yourself
Your personal style says a lot about how you see yourself. Buy yourself a new pair of shoes or a colourful scarf, or keep your look fresh with a new hair cut or a shade of nail polish you haven’t tried before. If your partner likes the new look, that’s just a bonus!
3. Do your thing
Invest time in the hobbies you’ve always enjoyed, even if they don’t involve your partner. Whether you like painting, knitting, blogging, or horse riding – do something that makes you happy.
In your relationship with your children
It’s important that you learn to never need your children in order to keep busy. If you sacrifice your own interests and allow yourself to rely too heavily on your children to take up the bulk of your time throughout their teen years, you might struggle with ‘empty nest syndrome’ when they’ve finished school and are no longer in the house as much.
4. Make new friends
If you spend a lot of time watching your child take part in sports and other after school activities, why not make friends with some of the other parents there? It’s good to have a friendly face or two to chat to about what’s going on at school and it’s a great way to meet like-minded individuals that might be your friends for years to come. Who knows, maybe your children will spark a new friendship out of it, too?
5. Do your homework, too
As your children grow up and become more self-sufficient, they may not need as much help from you when it comes to homework tasks, so it’s a good idea to find little things that’ll pass the time, even when they do still need your help.
If it’s homework time and your children don’t need too much help or supervision, why not use that time to read up on topics you’re interested in, or learn a new recipe that you can try out for dinner that evening?
In your relationship with your parents
6. Talk it out
If you’re taking care of an ill or ageing parent and feeling overwhelmed (which is totally normal), make an appointment with a therapist or counsellor so you can talk about how you’re feeling and work on coping mechanisms together. It isn’t selfish to take care of your mental and emotional well-being; in fact, it will make you better equipped to help the loved one(s) you’re taking care of.
7. Take a breath
Caregiver burnout is very real and one of the symptoms is that you might feel too guilty to take a break or do anything for you while you’re caring for a loved one. There’s no need to feel guilty for taking care of yourself; it’s necessary in order for you to give the best care to your loved one.
Take the time to make yourself a cup of tea and sit down quietly for a few minutes throughout the day, or have a relaxing bath before you go to bed. Do something nice for yourself, you deserve it!
Feature: Candice Curtis