Your identity is your true self. It’s the person you are when you are by yourself and have no expectations. Never let someone take that away from you. Be true to yourself, your principles, wants, and needs. When you remain authentic, it is easier to live a joyful life. You might be less likely to find fault in others or let depression set in. Peer pressure is a bitch, and it will hijack your actions. Stay vigilant.
As a child, you are who you are. You don’t hide your feelings, wants, or needs. Only when people start correcting a behavior does that change you. Most adults mean no harm, but a child doesn’t understand correction vs. discipline. Children are taught to change who they are to please someone else, fit in, be liked, be good, and be accepted at an early age. Has anyone ever stopped to analyze the damage this may cause?
Then there are the teenage years, a time to test your wings and your parent’s patience. You taste freedom, not enough for some and too much for others. But it’s an excellent start to understanding who you are at a base level. Who do you want to be? Has your identity been created by circumstances, good or bad, and do you want to change? Your teens will speed by quickly, and before you know it, you will be young adults.
In the next stage of your life, things become complex. You might forget who you are from day to day. Life will demand a lot from you but leave you little time to take care of the simplest things. Decisions you make will have you second-guessing yourself. School and work will need to be juggled, making daily life stressful. All the while, you may notice yourself becoming someone you don’t recognize. Am I maturing or allowing life to change me? Our identity, the things we like or dislike, will evolve. Change is expected. Letting another dictate how you change is not maturity.
Those who passed this stage might be thinking, been there, done that. I get it, and that was a harsh lesson to learn. I think we all assume that it’s the circle of life. We must destroy ourselves, lose who we were, revamp our identity and create a new and approved one. Create an identity that is brighter, braver, and more affluent. An identity that has gained knowledge, experience, and contacts. You may have even found a new set of friends or significant other. But at what cost?
Regardless of your circumstances, it’s crucial to “STOP,” take a breath, and remember what you love about yourself. What makes you happy? What are the things you enjoy doing? Do this before spending the next 20 or 30 years creating a life that won’t satisfy you because you are busy trying to be someone you’re not. Spending time daily connecting with your inner voice is essential to keep your identity intact. Listen to what it has to say. Write down your innermost thoughts about life, love, relationships, and career goals. Live your life. This is your journey, and don’t apologize for being you.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you into something else is the greatest accomplishment.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
By Lisa C
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