How to Keep Your Identity in a Relationship
In relationships, it's easy to get so caught up in the idea of "us" that sometimes one (or both) parties misplaces important pieces of who they were before. While relationships naturally bring about personal change, that doesn't mean you have to set aside your core identity.
Whether you're in a committed relationship or not, this can still apply to you, as it's not just romantic relationships we're talking about here. Take a second to consider this; when was the last time you set aside a personal belief because someone you were talking to had an opinion quite unlike your own, and you didn't want to cause trouble? Now, in a general public setting this is understandable, but when was the last time you did that with a friend? With someone more than a friend?
Something else to think about: if you ARE in a relationship, think about what your hobbies are. Perhaps swimming, writing, drawing, playing an instrument or a game, cooking, hiking, etc. What are they? And are there any you may have stopped (or slowed down on) since your relationship developed?
Being a young adult makes keeping our extracurricular pursuits alive hard enough. Add in worrying about someone else's interests, and that can make it so you don't even remember that you once spent so much time on these things. It's perfectly normal. We get so wrapped up in the everyday drudgery and what we think is a "big" thing and we forget that we're important too! Those hobbies exist for a reason. Your opinions and passions, they're what make you who you are, and they're probably part of why your friends and partners love you! Remember to cater to yourself as much, if not more, than you do to others.
Today, take a few minutes to sit yourself down and consider: what have you put aside? What activities and friendships, passions and dreams, have you put on the back burner to make room for the bigger things in life? Then, this week, try to find some time to recover those hobbies. Reach out to the friends you've neglected. Take out your drawing pad. Get outside and hit a trail! While tending to your relationship is important, it's much more important for you to hold onto your identity, and remember that your life is your own. You are the main character. You're the hero or heroine. Don't let your love for someone else let you set all that you love aside until you have the time or until it's more convenient. That time will never come. You have to make it for yourself.