At different times during our lives, we will find ourselves in a place where we aren’t entirely sure who we are anymore. It may be a question about our values or beliefs, uncertainty about our desires and dreams, or a general feeling that we’re not the same as we used to be.
It can be uncomfortable, confusing, and downright scary, especially when we aren’t expecting it. Our entire lives can be turned upside down, or a long-standing part of our identity is suddenly in question. When we’re in a place of question like this, we often start to question everything - inside of us and externally. The world as a whole may begin to look unfamiliar.
throughout the course of our lives, we may find ourselves asking - “Who am I, Really?”
Sometimes reinventing our identity and how we see ourselves happens during a challenging time (like a divorce, job change, or the death of a loved one). Our identity also shifts throughout our lifespan, which is why we’re not the same person at age 50 that we were at age 20 (thank goodness!).
It’s important to periodically reflect on what defines us, what we value and who we feel we are inside. Evaluating our identity may feel confusing, overwhelming, or even like a full-out crisis (think: mid-life crisis). However, taking a good look at who we are and who we want to be can actually bring a great deal of excitement, hope and relief.
We no longer have to remain who we were. We can choose what is most important to us now. We have the opportunity to actively decide what will continue to define us and what we can leave behind.
Encourage what’s meaningful and important, and learn to let go of the things that don’t serve you anymore.
Spend some time considering what has been important to you in the past. Then consider what is important to you now. Some of these may be the same, while some may be wildly different. There often are hobbies, activities, or qualities of yourself that you’ve lost throughout the years that you’d like to get back. Other items you may be ready to leave behind.
Encourage yourself to hold onto what’s important and learn to let go of those that don’t feel like a healthy part of you now. Allow the healthy, important parts of you to become how you define yourself now. It may be a creative outlet, a good friend, volunteer activities, hobbies you enjoy, beliefs and values that you feel strongly about, or countless other ideas.
Take some time to think (and ideally write down) about what you want to be defined by. Here are a few questions to get you started:
What qualities do I value in others?
What do I most wish I could add to my life?
What do I most wish I could let go of?
Through this process you can improve other aspects of your life, such as your self-talk or relationship boundaries. Talking about this process with a good friend, family member, or professional can enhance the experience and help you sort through it all. Please reach out if we can help in any way.
I’m here if you want to talk. Take care!