Last year at this time I was working on my discharge from the Navy. I was 36 weeks pregnant. I had thrown clothes for all four of my family members, and baby essentials in suitcases for the trip from Hawaii to Wisconsin.
While I was, and still am, extremely happy about my completion of military service, I never allowed myself to mourn and grieve the end of that period of my life. I needed to take time and do these three things to find my
identity. I took time away for myself, I gave myself time to grieve and I accepted I had changed through my transition period.
The Steps I’ve Taken
1. Giving myself to focus on finding my identity meant spending a night locked up by myself in a hotel room. I recently spent a night away from my family to have some time for myself. Now many may see this as selfish, but I found that I needed time to take care of myself and focus on me to make me at the roles I fulfill. When you are a mom, a business owner and all of those other things, it is so important to put yourself as a priority. From this little retreat and time spent listening to a business podcast, I found that I loved the passion with which the guest spoke about her business and her life. She spoke about her business with such an identity of self, and I realized that I didn’t have that core identity. This left me with a deep longing to search out who I had become.
2. Giving myself time to grieve has helped me to find my identity. Until that point of taking time away to focus on myself, I didn’t realize I needed to grieve. And I hadn’t allowed myself to be okay with my emotions and sadness over leaving the Navy. I had transitioned from the Navy to having a baby and I hadn’t allowed myself to grieve the loss. So I had a good cry, then I opened my Bible devotional app and saw Matthew 5:4 which says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Those words of mourning and being comforted came at just the right time and were an assurance that it was good to mourn, that I would be taken care of and restored in my identity.
3. I accepted I was different. I was recently a guest on a podcast focused on transition and motherhood where I shared how I handled transition. What I didn’t touch on was how my identity was tied up in being a Sailor and how I felt lost after coming home. I had dreams of becoming a Navy officer. I wanted to mentor younger Sailors, and now I have to figure out how to transition that to a non-military life. Through these revelations, I am working on discovering who I am. I have also had to accept the differences. My occupational role is different than before, but does not impact the other roles I fulfill. Not just as “mom,” “wife,” or “sister,” but me because my
identity deeply impacts all of those roles. I’ve decided to carry this love of mentoring into my business as I become a mentor for other virtual assistants.
A Continual Process
As I’ve walked through the steps of finding my identity, I have also learned this important lesson: If I am going to give out of myself to all those I serve, I need to be sure of my core being. Walking that journey is not going to be easy, and honestly I am still discovering what my core identity looks like. I started working with a life coach this week and I am so thankful for God’s amazing timing as I continue to redefine my identity and live more on purpose with who I am.
Understanding your identity and working through that process has to come from giving yourself time to reflect, allow yourself to grieve and accept the differences that happen through transition. It is only through these steps that you are able to connect with the core of who you are. This is not a one-time process, but a gradual act of accepting and digging deep within yourself.