Years ago now I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a nasty illness with no cure that creates a life of challenges and pain. My initial response was to deny it, but as the weeks turned into months and those months into years, “I have crohn’s” became “my crohn’s.” It became a part of me, no longer something that I held in my hand but now something that I had taken ownership over and adopted into my life.
It had become part of my identity.
How did this happen? The “me” I knew prior to being diagnosed had been shattered. I no longer Identified as that “healthy do whatever I wanted” young man. My identity as a person had shifted in a big way, and this piece that now affected so many areas of my life was becoming a dominant part of who I was. Because my identity before was not rooted in anything other then my existence, when something new invaded it had space to move in and set up camp.
I started to see my self as an illness to treat rather then a person to love, and as this transformation took place my ability to love my self plummeted. I found my self struggling with depression, and fighting a war inside. I couldn’t get better from a part of my identity. I couldn’t separate myself from myself.
I had to make a really powerful shift. That shift included the language I used when talking about myself and the illness I was fighting. I had to shift back to seeing crohn’s as an invader and something that was not inline with who I was. I had to stop taking ownership of the disease and only take ownership of how I interacted with it. I also had to find something strong and good to root my new identity in and to create an identity that I was in love with.
Is there a part of you that you seem to be at war with? Are you feeling like no matter what you do you can’t seem to get that “something” out of your life? If it has started living inside your identity it may need you to show it the door.
Dan Byl is a purpose guru and a millennial leadership specialist.
More from Dan as well as a copy of his Discover Your Purpose Ebook at DanByl.com
Follow Dan on Facebook