Our sense of identity is created through our sense of belonging to certain groups, classifications, or relationships, such as daughter, uncle, athlete, straight-A student, vegetarian, lawyer, or tea enthusiast. Navigating our approach to life after gaining or losing an important new facet of identity can be daunting or unsettling; when we suddenly lose a key relationship or membership we’ve relied on to identify ourselves, we can even experience an identity crisis. Death of a family member, job loss, divorce, and life-altering injuries are all common major events that challenge the very core of how we define ourselves. At the same time, discovering a new way of defining ourselves through a new label, relationship, or life transition can give us an exhilarating sense of liberation and empowerment. Seeing our identity as a dynamic—not static—feature of ourselves can help leave us open to the constant changes and opportunities our life has to offer.
The world is rapidly changing and our beliefs are being challenged. Many of us are uncomfortable with the political, religious, and social changes taking place. This book offers a new approach to establishing a clear, resilient identity and enjoying a more positive, meaningful life.
How Successful Career Changers Turn Fantasy into Reality Whether as a daydream or a spoken desire, nearly all of us have entertained the notion of reinventing ourselves. Feeling unfulfilled, burned out, or just plain unhappy with what we’re doing, we long to make that leap into the unknown.
One of Erikson’s most important contributions was to describe this as a psychosocial phenomenon—an interaction between someone’s sense of who he or she is as a person and society’s recognition of that person as an individual.