Encouragement in an Identity Crisis

This could be a story about you. Perhaps your losing your hair, have a major skin problem, are cross-eyed or confined to a wheelchair. This could be a story about a friend or family member, who’s Image Issue is not outwardly apparent to most, but is weighing on your heart because you know about her eating disorder, gender confusion, substance abuse, self-loathing.

Image Issues are uncomfortable.

Any identity crisis is personal and often very painful–especially while the crisis is active. Difficult times are easier to talk about when they are in the past. In truth, most battles become glamorous stories once time passes and pain subsides. Isn’t this why women tell labor stories when they are around a pregnant woman?

Painful pasts have powerful potential.

Stories of overcoming difficult times are usually helpful to those potentially facing the same problem, but we need to be sensitive about our timing for those actively in the emotional battle.

Broken beauty is still lovely

As an image consultant, I try to make it a point to recognize when a girl or woman may need to hear how beautiful they are. It’s what I do. A direct compliment can be awkward to receive and hearing “you are beautiful!” can throw any woman off-guard. I recently told a friend who is fighting breast cancer that she was beautiful and it threw her ON guard. I don’t think I encouraged her that day. I should know better! When I was in my Beauty Battle, pregnant and rejected by my (x)husband, it didn’t help me when people told me I was “glowing.” My mind was so stuck on the fact that I was a “throw away wife” that instead of hearing the compliment, I heard my (x)husband’s rejection once again. “She’s just saying that because she feels bad for you. Your own husband doesn’t even want you!”

Anyone at war is defensive

I’ve been on both sides of the labor bed and I can only imagine the response that a mother in transition would have if someone tried to “encourage her” with their story while she was trying to breathe! What would you do?

How you respond to advice/ compliment / threat during a crisis is a big indicator of your Img.ID:

C: Search for answers; argue anything that contradicts your belief.
N: See it for what it is; recognize “fruit on the tree.”
D: Listen to advice, seek approval, do what you feel anyway.
I: Take advice, comply with people’s wishes, accept blame. 
R: Absorb it all, feel it deeply, shut down emotionally.
G: Analyze what’s fair, fight for justice. 

Click the letter to learn more about that Image Identity, including What2Wear.

We each face an identity crisis at one point or another. If you are dealing with an Image Issue right now, I encourage you to keep pressing on. Just breathe. Right now the battle may be intense, but this too shall pass. You take care of you right now. When people’s responses feel threatening, consider their heart. Most likely they are just trying to help, but even if they are cruel hearted, don’t allow them to run your emotions or ruin your day.
If you have a loved one caught in a crisis, I encourage you to wait for the right moment to help. Some battles can only be fought by the one it’s meant to transform (or the one who is birthing the new life). To be a better friend / mom / wife, sometimes we need to be still and let God do the encouraging.

BE and LET BE

*****

As an author and speaker, Catrina’s passion is in helping women and girls overcome confidence conflicts, especially those involving rejection, betrayal and loss. After 30 years in the beauty industry as both a cosmetologist and an image consultant, Catrina now uses her profession, her own powerful stories and her training as a Biblical life-coach to reach the heart in a way that is relatable, encouraging and inspiring. Her message is balanced with both fashion and faith and is making a difference  in the lives of women and girls all over!  To be part of this movement, connect with her on FacebookTwitter PinterestLinked In, Goodreads  and consider having her speak at your next event. Visit http://catrinawelch.com for more information.

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