With the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are scrambling to learn how to deal with an existential crisis. In a time where we cannot go out, hang out with friends, meet new people, we have had to sit behind a screen and reframe our identity. Luckily, there is a wide range of mechanisms through which we can easily cope with our anxious existential thoughts. And while we cannot control a lot of things at the moment, learning to reframe our thoughts to avoid drowning in a sea of anxieties is a skill that will come in handy.

Before diving into the art of reframing our identity, let’s speak about why it is even needed. As humans, we often get pulled into a spiral of assuming our thoughts are true when we are all capable of having unhelpful and unhealthy thought patterns known as cognitive distortions. In a situation where we are mostly alone with our thoughts, as we are required to limit our interaction (in-person) with other people, we are more isolated with our thoughts. These thoughts can be annoying, false, and can wrap our reality in a way that only makes us feel worse.

Thus, the way to reframe your identity is by:

1) Asking yourself if you’d say the same things to a friend who was thinking like you.

As a general rule of thumb, we are often kinder to the people we love than ourselves. We engage a lot in negative talk and thoughts, sometimes so harsh that we can’t imagine thinking about, much less saying to, a friend. Similarly, ask yourself what you would say to a friend stuck in a tense situation and try to come out of the loop by telling yourself precisely that. Show yourself some compassion. Change your identity to be a person who is your own best friend. There is only so much interaction we can do online, so we need to be there for ourselves.

2) 5WH Method

Now that the world’s setting has changed sit down and think about your own goals. Start by thinking of one, and play around with the 5 WHs, ‘What, When, Why, Who, Which, How.’ After that, ask yourself what you would like to accomplish before you die. This will help you churn up some answers. And to limit the list down, ask yourself, “If I could select one of the accomplishments before I died, what would it be?” This would help you set your priorities straight.

3) Be a do-er

If you really want to give some shape to your identity, turn a thought you think is tough into an action. Don’t just plan. Start working on your goals. Work towards the accomplishments you wish to achieve before you die. Once you start working and accomplishing things, you will automatically be reframing your identity. Instead of sitting on a couch, whining about what you wish to do, get up and get to the task.

We have all been at a point where we’ve felt the need to reframe our identity. As easy it may seem, it is one of the most challenging things to do. But don’t let that hold you back; start by taking baby steps, and become someone you admire.

Leave a Reply