Identity is you. It’s how you express yourself, your personality, what you wear, your hobbies etc. It can be personal, cultural, creative, all three, or more. Identity makes us who we are, but sometimes it can be hard to find.
When finding your identity, be aware that you don’t have to fit into a box, and also know that your identity can change as you become older. You write your own identity, and it’s how you connect with the world. Other people can’t define it for you, even though they might sometimes try to.
How can identity affect your wellbeing?
Well–being and identity are something that can be linked. If you are struggling to find your identity, your well–being can be affected. However, if you are comfortable with your identity, your well-being can improve.
If you’re struggling to understand your identity, you may feel the effects on your physical and mental health, or on your connections with others. You may feel alone, not yourself, or feel like you’re an outsider. However, finding yourself as a person can take time, so don’t blame yourself. Try to take every day as it comes, and see what you learn about yourself each day.
Your identity can be affected when you’re in school, at your workplace or in your own home. This is because you might feel like you need to change your identity to fit in with others, or to hide certain aspects away from friends and family. There may be some peer pressure to be someone you’re not.
How can you find your identity?
- Try new thing and see what fits best for you
- Step outside of your comfort zone
- Find people who enjoy the same things as you
- Observe your feelings
- Ask yourself – who do you relate to and look up to?
- What are your core values? What issues matter to you?
Perceptions from other people on your identity
There will always be judgement from others – whether on purpose or not, it’s something that will always happen. Sometimes, when other people’s views of us upset us, it’s because we’re already judging ourselves without realising it.
Take a step back. If you receive any judgement, think about the positive things you like about yourself, and try not to take personal offence. Remember that the person saying these things doesn’t know everything about you. Things may get heated when people judge you, so leave the situation to cool down. Lastly, focus on the people that care about you.
Overall, everyone has a different opinion on identity. Some people say that it is who you are when nobody’s around and some people say it’s the opposite; you show your true self to people around you. However, sometimes people struggle with being their true self because of the perceptions from others.
Finding your identity involves letting go of your judgement, both from others and from yourself, and seeing what you learn about yourself each day. It’s about self-understanding.