Need help figuring out adoption relationships? Schedule a complimentary consultation with Lori Holden, M.A.

Identity crisis

I’m having one.

I have said that I aim to integrate my thoughts, words and actions, and that I want to integrate all my selves — the different faces I show in various situations. Self, wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, writer, employee, and all the other titles I wear.

It came to a head recently, and I feel like I am failing.

I won’t go into details about the interactions that sent me spiraling. Suffice it to say that who I aim to be — a mindful mom who knows what to say to her kids in any situation, a wise elder who survived infertility and adoption and can shine light for others, a spiritual yogini able to breathe through any energy disturbance, be it physical, emotional, or otherwise, a woman grateful for all she has — well, I don’t consistently meet my own expectations.

Distorted identity

Actually, at times it’s tough being a mom. I seem to need a lot of solitary time, and I dread the tedium of wiping yet another bottom or playing yet another game of Teacher. I’m not experiencing gratefulness at the moment, even though I have the life others may dream of. And I’m feeling pretty blocked — down and spent. On top of it all, I’m wallowing in this malaise.



The preceding entry was written several years ago — I haven’t had to wipe another person’s bottom for quite some time — and has resided, forgotten, in my Drafts folder. I’m pulling it out now because once again, I feel unmoored, shaken by a couple of recent encounters in which I was energetically knocked over. When faced with my own personal Sandy, I did not breathe. I was not mindful. My actions and reactions came from someone I didn’t recognize.

Or like a whole lot.

31 Responses

  1. What Mel said.

    Truly, none of us is perfect. We’re just always striving to be the people we want to be, and the important thing is that when we fall short, we notice, and set ourselves to rights again. It’s mindfulness meditation in practice, isn’t it? – noticing when we are no longer being mindful and – without judgment – drawing our attention back.

    You’re wonderful, even when you’re only human. ๐Ÿ™‚ xo

  2. I think we all hit these patches in the ebb and flow of life. Be gentle with yourself, recognize the situation for it’s reality and don’t let it grow out of proportion.

    And have a big squeezy {{{{{{HUG}}}}} from me.

  3. Mel hit the nail on the head. (Thanks Mel!) We all have our less than brilliant moments, but they are few, and they are needed to shine the light on your awesomeness, which is what everyone sees 99.9% of the time. Never try to be a 2-dimensional person. They’re not honest.

  4. Mel is kind of magic sometimes. And so are you. I know what it feels like to be unimpressed with myself and my actions (I’m a middle school teacher, a mom and a partner after all ;). I’m pretty positive ALL WOMEN feel that way at some point or another (and men should too though I have no idea if they do). My point is just, we are human, we are fallible and the fact that you are reflecting on what happened, and what you want to be different next time, just shows that you are the person you want to be, deep in your heart where it counts. When I feel very disappointed in myself I try to think how I’d approach my daughter if she were feeling that way. Usually that allows me to gather more compassion and empathy for myself. Maybe it will do the same for you?

    Abiding with you now and always.

  5. Love this post, Lori, because it so honestly shows your humanity. We all feel “blocked” at times. Just want you to know that as an adult adoptee, your attitudes, openness and writing give me much hope that the practice of adoption can and will improve.

  6. What I’ve noticed and admired about you Lori is that you are a caring, selfless human being. You are always there building up and encouraging others, but never once in our friendship have I heard you say, “This is what I need and desire from others.” You are a great friend to so many of us as we travel through different places in our journeys. I hope I can be there for you as you have countless times for me. โ™ฅ

  7. I’m with a and Mel. You are truly an amazing person and I’m certain those times you feel like you’re failing, you’re actually just getting your footing so you can soar. But as a said, how can we learn without failure? I see it all too often: those who haven’t failed enough in life are lost when anything disrupts their environment. Also, life wouldn’t be half as much fun without failure (hindsight on this one, obviously).

    We’re all human. We are all going to make mistakes and be less than optimal at times. The key is that we learn from it and grow. You always do this, Lori. Time and again, you inspire me to grow and learn, especially after I’ve tied myself up in knots.

  8. I highly doubt anything you did or said was all that bad. You are amazing. Never forget that. And we all struggle with our different hats and may fall down sometimes. You are entitled!

  9. Ah, I know how you feel. I have a couple of situations that always make me turn into a different person (in terms of how I handle them, or act in general) and I hate it when I’m that person. The first step is being mindful of it. Trust me, we all go through the same thing; and for me, knowing I’m not alone in something makes me feel better. I tend to hold myself to very high standards, and then when I inevitably don’t meet all of them, I beat myself up about it. But in one way or another, we are all the same — realizing that shows me that it’s ok. So, standing with you my friend, just know all you can do is try to learn from it for next time and know that it will pass. And know that you’re awesome, bc you are : )

  10. Oh, Lori. ๐Ÿ™


    For what it’s worth, I see you as an amazing, light-filled human being. The fact that you admit that you’re flawed gives me hope … you’re the parent and friend and daughter that I hope I can be someday. I love you and think the world of you.

    I really believe what we say to each other sometimes: “be gentle to yourself.” Because the struggle to be the best versions of ourselves is, for me, what it means to be human. It’s why I practice yoga. Sometimes, I can stand in vrikshasana, strong, but supple. Sometimes, I fall over.

    Thank you for being vulnerable, and thank you for being the inspiring, beautiful person that you are. *hug*

  11. Love you, imperfect and all. If you managed to be perfect every moment, we’d all be too intimidated – so, see? You are doing it for us! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I do the same thing and get down on myself for not living up to my unbelievably high (if not unrealistic) standards. It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves. Does perfectionism happen through nature, nurture or a combination of both? Did we set the standards or did our parents set/reinforce them for us? Sometimes my high expectations can drive me crazy!

    When my hubby sees me striving for the 99% solution, he reminds me that the 75% solution is OK too. “But what about the 24% difference???” my Inner Perfectionist asks.

    I am with Mel and wish you could see YOU through another set of eyes. You are lovely, humble, spirited, loveable, wonderful, and so very beautiful and real.

    Thank you for, once again, being you.

  13. “I donโ€™t consistently meet my own expectations.”

    Me either.

    Sending lots of peace, love, light, thoughts and prayers your way.

    I echo what so many others have said about being kind and patient with your self.

    Hang in there. I too am abiding with you and hoping the fog clears soon and you feel more like your self. xoxo

  14. Oh my! I definitely feel like this (more times than I care to admit). And I always think that it’s just me because everyone else in the world just seems to have it all together. I wish I were the person I want to be, but I guess I am me.

    Thank you for sharing Lori! So good to read that others can fall into that trap sometimes as well….

    And, from reading, you have so much love and support surrounding you. So inspiring! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Lori…I’m so very happy to have you in my life (albeit just recently). Cut yourself some slack by recognizing that I think we, as women, are very hard on ourselves, which makes it very difficult when someone else is hard on us. Unpleasant encounters can truly rock us…especially if we are the conteplative type.

    Hugs to you. Lifting you anyway I can!

  16. Sending hugs. Hang in there and I hope that all these comments make you realize that you set exceptionally high standards for yourself. Be kind to yourself – you are pretty great!

  17. Yoga has a lesson for us here: I’ve had several teachers who constantly emphasized that yoga is a practice. It’s not about mastery, it’s about working at it and getting better and better and challenging yourself. If you got to a point where you felt that you were doing it perfectly, it wouldn’t really be yoga anymore.

    Being the self we want to be is also a practice. We never get there, and that’s the point.

    P.S. I am really glad to hear that you’re not still wiping any butts — I was afraid of what my future holds if you were.

    P.P.S. I’m here if you want to go out and talk about any of it. Or none of it.

  18. Maybe I’m the first guy to comment! Lori, sometimes – often – I get frustrated at myself. I’ve sometimes joked (maybe insensitively) that I seem to have bipolar self-esteem – sometimes I think I’m pretty great, sometimes I look horribly down on myself. It’s strange that I work in one of the “helping professions,” and that I can see other people with grace really easily. Mel’s spot-on. Sometimes the best way to re-assess ourselves is to see ourselves from another person’s eyes. Or ask, how would I view a friend that was exactly like me (minus the creepy factor of having a friend exactly like me :).

  19. Wow that looked a brusquer in writing than it sounded in my head!

    All us humans struggle with the challenges you describe in this post. Perfection is a worth aspiration, but one we seldom achieve. It’s good to reflect on our failures, but I honestly think the failures are as important as the successes.

  20. Breathing with you. Perhaps it won’t be too long before you look back on this time, and others like it, as the shadow that gives depth and perspective…and compassion.

  21. Oh Lori…thinking of you and hoping that you’re feeling better. I’m a wee bit late on this post…

    You already know what I”m about to say, there’s no new message here…In fact, I feel myself channeling my ‘Inner Lori’…so here goes:

    Blips along the way provide us with a chance to challenge ourselves, look inward, and grow. They’re never easy but the beauty is, you are a survivor. Those skills never leave us and help us come out on the other side, much sooner then we think.
    In fact…you’re so mindful…I’m sure you’re already there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thinking of you, be kind to yourself.

  22. Adding my hugs and praise to the much-more-eloquent comments that have come before me. Life ebbs and life flows… it’s these ebbs that make us stronger and give us character. Hang in there. xoxo

  23. PS And I am sadly delinquent in saying congratulations on your book being available soon on Amazon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Adding it to my wish list. ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *