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Identity Crisis: Discover Your Identity

Identity Crisis: Discover Your Identity

Whether you’re questioning your identity or just haven’t taken the time to develop your own identity to begin with, getting to know you is an important part of living a full and happy life. Here are some helpful tips to get to know yourself. Keep in mind to approach this as a fun adventure. These tips can be used in any order, as they’re all about finding your voice and comfort zone.

1. Seek the journal

I’m not talking about the Wall Street Journal, what I mean is the all-about-me journal. Oftentimes, people who have always focused on others feel selfish to take time for their needs and wants, hence their lack of defined identity. Time to get over that misconception and designate a journal that’s just about you and for you. Yes, it’s OK that this is about you. That’s the point. If it’s uncomfortable at first and you don’t know what to write, that’s perfectly fine. Start with a list of things you like, such as your favorite food, time of day, perfume, where you’d love to travel, favorite song or film—anything. Just let it flow. This may sound sophomoric, but it truly releases the flood gates and introduces you to your most basic self. Your list could also include things that you don’t like. That is oftentimes just as telling when establishing an identity.

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When I began this exercise, I didn’t know my favorite flower, TV show, or many of my most basic preferences, never mind what I wanted as a career and traits in a quality partner. These baby steps helped me learn about me, allowing me to keep growing and establishing my identity. This can be liberating and accomplish success, thus igniting the desire to continue on the exploration of who one truly is at their core.

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2. The wish list

This is actually not wishes but authentic wants. List 50 or 100 things you want. The quantity is important, as it really forces you to search yourself. When I did mine years ago, I easily hit 20 or 30 and then really had to dig deep to reach 50 and above. This was suggested by an advisor many years ago. I still have my original wish list from 2004, as well as subsequent ones from 2008 and 2013. It’s amazing what such an exercise reveals immediately and later on. Happily, this acted as a goal list, unbeknownst to me at the time, as well as a great identity development tool. It feels wonderful to look back and see that I accomplished wants, or dare I say unidentified goals, just by making this list and anchoring them in my heart and mind.

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3. Character development

Another tip to getting to know oneself is to consider what characters you admire and what you like about them. It could be someone you know, a movie character, activist, anyone whom you admire or find interesting. As a 30-something woman, I realized that my identity was based on what others wanted and that I acquiesced or adapted to other’s hobbies and interests. So, when divorcing and facing life alone, I had no idea who I was or what I wanted. Not an easy feat to figure out. It was easy, however, to think of people that I admired and what specifically I liked about them, which provided real insight into what I actually possess or like about me. It’s a creative and different way to learn about you, especially if you’re not a list maker.

4. Take action

It’s important to look at this like an exploration or adventure. You’re on an expedition to discover yourself, like Indiana Jones searched for the Holy Grail. Embark on your journey. This is great for hands-on people. Do whatever piques your interest. If you like art, go to a gallery and see which pieces of art you like. Investigate those pieces and artists. Whatever your interest, just do it. Try things. I like to take field notes when I discover new places. Usually, there’s some little nougat that I uncover from such treks, even if as a whole I didn’t enjoy the adventure. If you’re more introverted, you can still dive in and search online for your interests. I encourage trying new things with a learning approach. You’re out to gather information—your likes and dislikes. I now know from escapades that I don’t care for opera and would like those 3+ hours of my life back, however, I do thoroughly enjoy poetry slams—especially judging them. That identity information was gleaned from taking action.

I encourage staying positive and in exploration mode. Learning what one doesn’t like and the journey of self discovery can be just as valuable as quickly knowing what one does like. Everything is a learning experience. The most important thing is to be aware and present. You are the subject, and a very worthy subject at that. Be open and try new things. You will be rewarded for it.

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

2. Focus on your breath

Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

3. Get organized and purge old items

A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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6. Smile more

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

7. Don’t worry about the future

As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

8. Eat real food

The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

9. Choose being happy over being right

Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

11. Make use of filtering features on social media

You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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12. Get comfortable with silence

When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

13. Listen to understand, not to respond

So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

14. Put your troubles in a bubble

Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

15. Speak more slowly

Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

16. Don’t procrastinate

Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

17. Buy a coloring book

Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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18. Prioritize yourself

You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

19. Forgive others

Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

20. Check your expectations

Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

21. Engage in active play

Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

22. Stop criticizing yourself

The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

26. Manage your money

Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

27. Stop trying to control everything

Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

28. Practice affirmations

Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

29. Get up before sunrise

Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

30. Be yourself

Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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