Identity vs. Ability

Ronda Rousey on Ellen“What am I anymore if I’m not this?”

On an episode of Ellen this week, Ronda Rousey recounted her thought process after her unanticipated loss to Holly Holm. The former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion revealed that she was contemplating suicide after the match. Rousey had won all 12 of her previous bouts, and her defeat came as a surprise—to both her and the world.

Rousey said she sat in the corner of the medical room post-match, thinking, “I’m nothing. What do I do anymore?”

Rousey isn’t the only one who’s struggled to grapple with failure. She’s simply a public face to a prevalent problem: hinging our identity on our ability.

Basing worth on achievement is a common practice among us all, and perhaps even more so among New Yorkers. Simply surviving in this city requires one to maintain a certain level of “success.”

But it’s an integral part of life: we fail. We lose bouts and jobs, the rent gets too high, relationships crumble. Then what? How do we make sure our loss doesn’t result in the loss of ourselves?

Just like a house is only as secure as its foundation, our worth can only be built on something unshakable.

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