Do you know who you are? If not, it's time to find out. I believe that the most powerful way to do this is by exploring your thoughts on self-identity. It may seem like a daunting task at first but with some patience and understanding of what's happening, it can be easy to get on track again. We all have moments in life where we question our identity because during those times, we don't know how or why things are happening to us or around us. This blog post will guide you through the process of finding yourself again so that you can live more authentically and fully enjoy each day.
What is self-identity, and why it is so important?
You may be asking yourself what self-identity means and why it is so important. Well, answer those questions now because we're going to dive into this together.
Self-Identity Definition: Your beliefs about yourself that develop as a result of your experiences in life such as your family upbringing or the people you come across on a daily basis. They ultimately define who you think you are and how others perceive you too. So if we go back to our definition up there ^^^^ , it says "result of" which means they can change depending on where we move throughout life and what's happening at specific points within time (i.e.; college years).
„Identity encompasses the memories, experiences, relationships, and values that create one’s sense of self. This amalgamation creates a steady sense of who one is over time, even as new facets are developed and incorporated into one's identity. „ (Psychology Today Staff, 2021.)
No matter how often it is said that our identity does not change, I disagree. Some days I look at myself in the mirror and I'm a little surprised at what I see in the mirror. And no, I'm not schizophrenic... I don't really celebrate anniversaries, which tend to cause problems for some people sometimes, but that's kind of how I've shaped it over the years. When I think of my own physical age, after a strong recalculation, I'm surprised to think "hmm... doesn't the number of physical years match the way I feel..."
But I think this is one of the most complex topics there are. How can we define who we really are? What part of us is who we say we are and what parts do we just assume they're a natural extension of our personality or physicality? Can somebody be comfortable with their own identity if it doesn't match up to general consensus on how someone should look, behave, etc.?
There are a lot of expectations around us that we sometimes forget, we have so cleverly domesticated ourselves. Which I think is a very good phrase, and if I remember who I first heard it from... and I forgot. (When I looked it up, I was surprised at how much research there is on domesticating ourselves.) It starts when you're just starting to form the life you now feel like you have. Epigenetic scientists, to refer to them again, have observed that the gene is locked into the environment of the parents, and the programs that are best adapted are reinforced. This raises quite a few questions about relocations, by the way. So you have your home environment to which you first adapt, then kindergarten, school and so on. Everywhere there are rules to comply with. These shape your self-image to a large extent.
As a child, you don't have many chances to influence the course of events. You start by imitating your parents and then learn from others around you what is considered 'normal'. This process continues throughout life in all kinds of situations: work, marriage, friendship groups etc. Have you ever wondered why most societies are patriarchal? Where women's rights aren't taken seriously or where domestic violence goes unpunished because it's never questioned? There is always some kind of power struggle going on in society.
So there are a lot of things that are very much influenced by what you think about yourself. At school, at work, in your relationship, in your relationship with your parents, etc., it's everywhere.
How can you define your own identity?
It's important to understand that you are unique and special so embrace it. If something about yourself annoys you or makes you uncomfortable, try not to focus on it too much but instead think more positively. Remember, there is nothing wrong with being different. It's what makes the world interesting!
Although I would like to live my life without labels and judgements, this is of course still a work in progress. I think that nowadays, especially living in a big European city, it is a task to be able to live and create side by side. I know that there are some who are more equal than others, but in the long run, they are not without action. For example, there are a lot of problems, from very minor inconveniences to fatalities, caused by a few people breaking traffic rules. This needs to be addressed by the community. Which is slowly getting to the point where, from the summer of 2022, the European Union will make it compulsory for all new cars in categories M and N to have ISA, or speed assist, which, in simple terms, means speed limitation. (In short, the system monitors and gives feedback to the driver when he or she exceeds the speed limit, even by taking away the ability to accelerate.) There are, of course, many explanations for this, and there are pros and cons.
However, breaking all the rules around you does not make you self-identical.
It makes you a rebel. The process of self-identity requires exploring your thoughts on self-identity. It may seem daunting at first but with some patience and understanding, it can be easy to get back on track again. We all have moments in life where we question our identity because during those times, we don't know how or why things are happening around us. Of course, being a rebel is often amusing, and I won't go into why it might be good.
As a child, I heard the wisdom that "you have to learn the rules so you can beat them." However, you may want to be aware of the rules to find your opportunities. Not what the rules allow! But the ones that are equal to who you can be, and still be able to live with others.
It is not about changing who you are. It's about knowing what to change and how much so that it doesn't disrupt the balance of your life and those around you.
Of course, we all want love but if this means sacrificing our identities than no one will be happy in the long run. We can find ways to meet people where they're at or fit ourselves into places that may become more suitable for us over time because everything changes as we do!
Self-identity isn't just important because it makes you feel good on the inside - although I think everyone should strive toward feeling their best each day anyways - but also when others see us living our lives authentically then they know who they too without having to ask questions.
Why it's important to be aware of how others see us, but not let it dictate our lives or change who we are as individuals?
How would your friends describe you? What words come to mind when thinking about their current thoughts of who you are as a person? Everything changes over time, so what do they see now isn't always going to be the same in five years. It's not bad that people have different perceptions of us because again, this means we have developed and learned new things along our journey - but it can also mean no one is seeing "us" anymore. This may be why some individuals feel lost or alone even though they surround themselves with others on a day-to-day basis.
What about you? What are three words that would best describe who you are as a person in the present moment? "I" is usually included when someone replies, but it's important to avoid saying this because I offers no insight into your current feelings or direction. If anything, this word brings up thoughts of ego and separation from others which can be harmful during times where we need support most. So instead choose the first three words that come to mind without making any judgment on them before hand; they're simply there for guidance purposes only.
Next ask yourself: am I okay with these descriptions? Why or why not? Remember what was said earlier - everything changes over time so our likes and dislikes may shift too. If you feel like these descriptions are not accurate, ask yourself: if I had to choose only three words again, what would they be? Again, don't judge them beforehand. Simply let the first three come up and then either pick another one or repeat it until you're satisfied with your choice.
Once this is done for each blog post title question just take a few moments to breathe deeply into your body and notice how different you may feel than when you started out. You might even want to journal about it if writing helps bring clarity which can make things easier too! By taking time throughout our day/week/year we create more space in our lives so that new possibilities can emerge naturally.
Where are the pitfalls of self-identity?
Self-identity can be hard because everyone has different opinions. We should always try our best to be true to ourselves. It's good that we have an idea who we are so that other people don't take advantage of us too much.
One of the biggest traps is egoism. I mentioned earlier the rules that, even if they do not work for everyone, and cannot work 100% the same for everyone, can be important for coexistence. There could be other barriers and traps that make it difficult for an individual to fulfil their potential, but perhaps none as damaging as egoism, or its more serious counterpart, egotism.
When a 'smart' person is being silly, it can be fun, but the other way round, it can be quite uncomfortable. Egotism is the phenomenon of putting one's image of oneself above everything else. And because I like to look at things from the other way round, such a person can have quite a lot to do with self, loneliness and isolation. There are those who specifically enjoy solitude, and for them, no greater blessing is possible. Because of this, you can already feel that it is not so obvious. To like to be alone does not always mean that one is lonely.
Knowing what you believe in and who you are, will help empower yourself for the rest of your life!
We all have to remember, who we are. And it’s not just about our personal growth but also the people around us. When you know yourself and what your strengths are, you can be a leader in many different areas of life - including work or at home with family members. Knowing that will help elevate those around you as well because they too want to grow into their own best selves. That is why finding out who YOU really are is so important! If this sounds like something worth exploring further, join one of our sessions today to find out how knowing ourselves helps everyone else flourish more easily.