We know that giving ourselves negative labels like “failure” or “worthless” is not in our best interests, but what about positive labels? You hear a lot about positive affirmations and how beneficial they are. Things like “I AM unique”, “I AM a money magnet”, “I AM on track with life”. These are all great things to say to ourselves, but at what expense? Anything can be seen as beneficial, and similarly, anything can be seen as detrimental. My intent is never to purposefully be a downer or a glass-half-empty-kinda-girl. With that said, I’d like to offer a slightly different perspective on a specific ‘positive’ label we might characterize ourselves to be…
a problem solver,
or alternatively, being “resilient“.
Let’s look under the microscope…
Any label or personality trait we’ve been given (or that we’ve given ourselves) sticks to us and acts as a building block to the ever-growing structure that is our IDENTITY. If we’ve created an identity of being a “Problem Solver” or being “Resilient”, then in order for us to maintain those identities, those characteristics, we must continue to solve problems and/or be resilient.
If things are smooth in life AND we’ve created an identity of being a “fixer”, “problem-solver” or “resilient” in the face of adversity, then we are sooooooooo likely to create a problem in our own lives just so we can FIX IT or OVERCOME it, so that we may keep our identity secured. Because “if I’m not who I think I am, who am I???”
Imagine you describe yourself as being someone that bounces back from hardship, but there is no apparent hardship in your life at the moment. If you don’t create something to prove that you really are resilient, then you’re going to have a mini-identity crisis until you find/produce something — a hardship to overcome — that once again proves you are what you say you are.
This is the problem with being a problem solver. It is also the paradox of giving yourself a label that seems to be beneficial, though can be a crutch. I am 100% not telling you to stop speaking highly of yourself, nor am I advising you to drop all the lovely ways you describe yourself. I am merely posing a new way to think about labels (of all shapes and sizes), since it blew my mind when I first unwrapped the concept myself.
Please please please… Don’t take this as me telling you to not give yourself the confidence of being one that solves problems when they arise, or to stop feeling like you are capable to bounce back from conflict/struggle. Maybe just view yourself as “one who solves problems when they arise“, and/or “one who is capable of being resilient“, instead of “I AM A PROBLEM SOLVER” or “I AM ALWAYS RESILIENT”. When we attach ourselves to anything, especially personal labels, we often get caught in our own net. Be the one that sees the net instead of the one being trapped. By removing ourselves from the fixed identity of any label, whether “positive” or “negative”, we are freed from the netting we cast upon ourselves.