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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 16, 2019

7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

Negativity affects ourselves and everyone around us. It limits our potential to become something great and live a fulfilling, purposeful life. Negativity has a tangible effect on our health, too. Research has shown that people who cultivate negative energy experience more stress, more sickness, and less opportunity over the course of their lives than those who choose to live positively.

When we make a decision to become positive, and follow that decision up with action, we will begin to encounter situations and people that are also positive. The negative energy gets edged out by all positive experiences. It’s a snowball effect.

Although negative and positive thoughts will always exist, the key to becoming positive is to limit the amount of negativity that we experience by filling ourselves up with more positivity.

Here are some ways to get rid of negativity and become more positive.

1. Become Grateful for Everything

When life is all about us, it’s easy to believe that we deserve what we have. An attitude of entitlement puts us at the center of the universe and sets up the unrealistic expectation that others should cater to us, our needs, and our wants. This vain state of existence is a surefire way to set yourself up for an unfulfilled life of negativity.

People living in this sort of entitlement are “energy suckers”–they are always searching for what they can get out of a situation. People that don’t appreciate the nuances of their lives live in a constant state of lacking. And it’s really difficult to live a positive life this way.

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When we begin to be grateful and appreciate everything in our lives–from the small struggles that make us better, to the car that gets us from A to B every day–we shift our attitude from one of selfishness, to one of appreciation. This appreciation gets noticed by others, and a positive harmony begins to form in our relationships.

We begin to receive more of that which we are grateful for, because we’ve opened ourselves up to the idea of receiving, instead of taking. This will make your life more fulfilling, and more positive.

2. Laugh More, Especially at Yourself

Life gets busy, our schedules fill up, we get into relationships, and work can feel task oriented and routine-driven at times. Being human can feel more like being a robot. But having this work-driven, serious attitude often results in negative and performance oriented thinking.

Becoming positive means taking life less seriously and letting yourself off the hook. This is the only life that you get to live, why not lighten up your mood?

Laughter helps us become positive by lightening our mood and reminding us not to take life so seriously. Are you sensitive to light sarcasm? Do you have trouble laughing at jokes? Usually, people who are stressed out and overly serious get most offended by sarcasm because their life is all work and no play.

If we can learn to laugh at ourselves and our mistakes, life will become more of an experiment in finding out what makes us happy. And finding happiness means finding positivity.

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3. Help Others

Negativity goes hand in hand with selfishness. People that live only for themselves have no higher purpose in their lives. If the whole point of this world is only to take care of yourself and no one else, the road to a long-term fulfillment and purpose is going to be a long one.

Positivity accompanies purpose. The most basic way to create purpose and positivity in your life is to begin doing things for others. Start small; open the door for the person in front of you at Starbucks or ask someone how their day was before telling them about yours.

Helping others will give you an intangible sense of value that will translate into positivity. And people might just appreciate you in the process.

4. Change Your Thinking

We can either be our best coach or our best enemy. Change starts from within. If you want to become more positive, change the wording of your thoughts. We are the hardest on ourselves, and a stream of negative self talk is corrosive to a positive life.

The next time you have a negative thought, write it down and rephrase it with a positive spin. For example, change a thought like, “I can’t believe I did so horribly on the test–I suck.” to “I didn’t do as well as I hoped to on this test. But I know I’m capable and I’ll do better next time.”

Changing our self-talk is powerful.

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5. Surround Yourself with Positive People

We become most like the people that we surround ourselves with. If our friend group is full of negative energy-suckers and drama queens, we will emulate that behavior and become like them. It is very difficult to become more positive when the people around us don’t support or demonstrate positive behavior.

As you become more positive, you’ll find that your existing friends will either appreciate the new you or they will become resistant to your positive changes. This is a natural response.

Change is scary; but cutting out the negative people in your life is a huge step to becoming more positive. Positive people reflect and bounce their perspectives onto one another. Positivity is a step-by-step process when you do it solo, but a positive group of friends can be an escalator.

6. Get into Action

Negative thoughts can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate. Negativity is usually accompanied by a “freak-out” response, especially when tied to relationships, people and to worrying about the future. This is debilitating to becoming positive and usually snowballs into more worry, more stress and more freak-outs.

Turn the negative stress into positive action. The next time you’re in one of these situations, walk away and take a break. With your eyes closed, take a few deep breaths. Once you’re calm, approach the situation or problem with a pen and pad of paper. Write out four or five actions or solutions to begin solving the problem.

Taking yourself out of the emotionally charged negative by moving into the action-oriented positive will help you solve more problems rationally and live in positivity

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7. Take Full Responsibility, Stop Being the Victim

You are responsible for your thoughts.

People that consistently believe that things happen to them handicap themselves to a victim mentality. This is a subtle and deceptive negative thought pattern. Phrases like “I have to work” or “I can’t believe he did that to me” are indicators of a victim mentality. Blaming circumstances and blaming others only handicaps our decision to change something negative into something positive.

Taking full responsibility for your life, your thoughts and your actions is one of the biggest steps in creating a more positive life. We have unlimited potential within to create our own reality, change our life, and change our thoughts. When we begin to really internalize this, we discover that no one can make us feel or do anything. We choose our emotional and behavioral response to people and circumstances.

Make positive choices in favor of yourself.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny” ― Lao Tzu

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Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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