If You Are Not Your Job or Relationship, Who Are You?

September 27, 2023 Mahevash Shaikh

Who are you? They say you are not your job. Personally, I say one more thing: you are not your relationship. But if you are not your job or relationship, who are you? 

What Defines Your Identity? Who Are You?

According to the American Psychological Association, identity is defined as follows:

"an individual's sense of self, defined by (a) a set of physical, psychological, and interpersonal characteristics that is not wholly shared with any other person and (b) a range of affiliations (e.g., ethnicity and social roles). Identity involves a sense of continuity, or the feeling that one is the same person today that one was yesterday or last year (despite physical or other changes). Such a sense is derived from one's body sensations; one's body's image; and the feeling that one's memories, goals, values, expectations, and beliefs belong to the self."1 

As we live in a world where our jobs and romantic relationships define us, many of us attach our identity to our jobs and romantic relationships. This is problematic because both factors--work and partners--exist independently and outside of us. No matter what we do to keep them, there is no guarantee they will remain a part of our lives. Philosophically speaking, identity is internal and within our locus of control

When Considering Who You Are, Remember Your Self-Worth Cannot Be Measured by Achievements

Identity or sense of self matters because we tend to associate our self-worth with it. According to Dr. Christina Hibbert, self-worth cannot be measured by achievements or anything else. 

"Self-esteem is what we think and feel and believe about ourselves. Self-worth is recognizing I am greater than all of those things. It is a deep knowing that I am of value, that I am loveable, necessary to this life, and of incomprehensible worth. It is possible to think I'm good at something, yet still not feel convinced that I am loveable and worthy. Self-esteem doesn't last or work without self-worth."2

In other words, self-worth comes from within and does not depend on anything external. This is why I believe a major part of one's identity should be rooted in self-worth. It is the only way we can be emotionally secure individuals at all times. It is also the best way to protect ourselves from the heartbreak of career setbacks and relationship ups and downs

So, who are you? 


  1. APA Dictionary of Psychology. (n.d.).
  2. Hibbert, C., & Hibbert, C. (2014). Self-Esteem vs. Self-Worth: Q & A w/ Dr. Christina Hibbert | Dr. Christina Hibbert. Dr. Christina Hibbert | Dr. Christina

Tags: who are you

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2023, September 27). If You Are Not Your Job or Relationship, Who Are You? , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 24 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

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