Forming Our Identity Through Overcoming Struggles

One of the significant takeaways from this video is that people can use negative experiences to make better, more satisfying current and future experiences. Solomon calls the process forging meaning, which is essentially changing self. His forging meaning was influenced by discrimination as gay, which is among the negative situations many people have endured. In most cases, such situations that demean and devalue people cause withdrawal, stress, illness, or suicide. However, I have learned from Solomon that one should endure forging meaning and, thus, a new identity. Forging meaning does not erase the negative past or the characteristics of a person but instead makes what seems wrong to be precious. By overcoming shame, the negative past builds a new identity to make us who we are today.

I do not have a precise situation where I have forged meaning, but I know someone who did it. Diane is a registered nurse whom I met at a community service event two years ago. As we networked with her, I learned that she had many health complications in her childhood. Most of the time, she was admitted to the hospital and barely went to school for a whole year. Some people would have given up on many things, including education and dreams. However, Diane explained that she developed a curiosity to understand illnesses and care during her admission. She would as doctors and nurses’ questions. Diane is a committed nurse and has a robust proficiency in her practice, which she attributes to having stayed in hospitals for a significant part of her life.

I might use this perspective to evoke the memories that affect people’s current identities. It is a psychodynamic perspective that acknowledges that our past, especially that which is ingrained in our unconscious mind, affects our identity. Therefore, I will help my future clients to recall and appreciate their pasts and use them as schemas for their new identity. Much work will be done to make clients appreciate their past and overcome their shame, guilt, fear, or anger. Overall, the goal will be to forge meaning of their past experiences and form a better identity.