Are you suffering with identity confusion? Are you having an issue answering questions like, "Who am I?", "What do I want out of life?", "Where do I want to be in 5 years?" or "What is my purpose?"
Each of these questions consume those who are having a hard time with enountering their identity. Claimining your identity is about being able to articulate who you are, what you like, what motivates you and what you don't like. Your identity is essentially your self image, as you see you see yourself and as others see you; it encompasses your self-esteem and individuality (what sets you apart from others).
But in order to be able to identify oneself and answer the aforementioned questions, one must spend time getting acquainted with his/herself. But if solitude intimidates and/or frightens you, start with something as simple as trying to gain more understanding of your personality by asking others.
Because while many of us may not be able to articulate who we are and what we want in the grand scheme, we know on a very basic level our likes and dislikes. That coupled with the perspective of others closest to us will give us a very clear idea of who we are.
However, in the event you prefer to figure this out on your own, and don't know where to start, think about this: Many of us know if we don't like being in crowds or are generally quiet (introvert), we can tell if we have a hard time making friends (socially ackward), we know if we like to go out and socialize (extrovert), if we are often angry, or nice (compassionate), whether we don't have any care about what happens to other (lacks empathy), etc. These are the things we need to spend time thinking of and writing down to get a better understanding of who we are.
HACK: When the opportunity presents itself I like to encourage open minded individuals to check out an astrology (horoscope) site with the "personality summary" for an individual with their zodiac sign. WHY? Becuase while I don't particulary grasp many of the scientific aspects of Astrology, I can understand that fundamentally studies can be done to gather and conclude personality similarities for each zodiac sign. In other words, if you can believe that the results are based on studies with real people, you can accept that there is truth there.
Take me for instance, as a Virgo according to Astrology Zodiac Sign :
Strengths: Loyal, analytical, kind, hardworking, practical
Weaknesses: Shyness, worry, overly critical of self and others, all work and no play
Virgo likes: Animals, healthy food, books, nature, cleanliness
Virgo dislikes: Rudeness, asking for help, taking center stage
As you can see I have colored in green all the information I identify with and in red all of the information I deem incorrect. Do you see any red? NO! That's because there was nothing stated incorrect. Now of course I can personalize this by adding other things specific to me, but this is an accurate generalization of my stregths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. And it's a great starting point, as it definitely provides a good based of understanding who you are as a person.
WHY IDENTIFYING OURSELVES IS SO IMPORTANT?
Understanding who you are is fundamentally important for all interactions in life. Understanding you assists with your ability to learn and excel academically, in life, professionally, etc. More specifically in relationships. Although we like to try, it is very hard to deem someone a soul mate or "love of your life" when you don't even know the person they fell in love with (YOU). This is why relationships go through growing pains, it's typically during a time when one or more parties discover themselves and what they want and don't want out of a relationship. They either change or establish new expectations to meet their needs.
Can you imagine how much time you'd save loving the wrong person if you only first identified how to love yourself, and what you need in order to be happy?
HINDSIGHT: We enter in to relationships backward. We should be initiating relationships being able to articulate who we are and what we need from someone else to maintain our happiness and peace. We shouldn't use relationships as trial and error to determine what we need from someone to maintain our happiness and peace. That's how we enounter pain!
WHAT TO DO AFTER YOU'VE ESTABLISHED YOUR IDENTITY (SELF-IMAGE & SELF-ESTEEM)?
Remember that your identity encompasses self-image and self-esteem! Key word being SELF! So you have to continue to be an active participant in reestablishing your value and worth to yourself, so that you don't loose it, or get lost in the ideals of what other's want for you, versus what YOU want for YOU!
Additionally, in today's society we have to make an active effort to continuously accept who we are in our most natural state. It is so easy to get into a mode of "I don't like this about myself so I will change it!", essentially to appease others. Not realizing that self-image and self-esteem originate within ourselves. And the best form of confidence starts with acknowledging you are NOT like anyone else. And subsequently accepting who you are.
I will share this, in my efforts to actively maintain a positive self-image and self-esteem, I go in cycles every year where I revert back to my natural state. I personally never would wear make-up like consealer, base/foundation, rouge, eye shadow, but I do wear lipstick/gloss, mascara and eye liner from time to time. I also get my nails and my hair done often, eyebrows, etc. But at the begining of each year I spend time going without getting my hair done in a style I get complimented on most or wearing nails. I wear my glasses and don't apply make up. I spend time looking at myself in my most natural state so I continue to maintain being comfortable with who that person is, and not the person I am with all of the "accessories".
I highly enocurage you all to try this. And men it's just as much encouraged for you as it is for women. Try to imagine yourself without the infamous beard, or all the work that goes into the "waves", etc. Accept yourself in your current weightloss stage (be ok with your progress). It will help with reminding you how beautiful or handsome you are to YOURSELF, in the absence of third party opinion.
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