Have you lost your self-identity?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Kate Megase MBACP, Registered and Accredited
29th May, 20180 Comments
Did you know that there are so many people who lack self-identity, particularly in this day and age where so many individuals are so consumed with being liked by other people? People even use Facebook and Instagram to seek validation. These individuals are so busy comparing themselves to others through their friendship circles or social media. The truth is, you will never be fulfilled when you compare yourself to others. This pattern of behaviour only creates indecisiveness, self-doubt, trust issues and low esteem. When you are unaware of your real identity, when you consciously or subconsciously look for constant validation from others, you will feel unfilled and insecure.
This pattern of behaviour can become almost addictive if it’s not managed. You will never really be sure of who you are if you consistently want others to confirm that for you. I am conscious that it may seem odd to know who you are, but how can someone truly love or like or treat you the way you deserved to be addressed if you don’t know yourself? How can you live life to your full potential if you lack self-identity or awareness? Try not defining yourself by who people think you are. Individuals who lack self-identity often identify themselves by their past, status, career or self-image.
Here are some simple ways to reclaim your identity if you believe that you have lost it.
When did you lose your identity?
It’s compulsory to identify when you lost a sense of yourself. This process will enable you to know how to reclaim your identity. For instance, if you grow up in an environment where you were not allowed to feel your emotions or no one spoke about their feelings, then it’s hard to connect with your inner child. It means that you may have a wounded child that is still playing up within the adult. It means you may have learnt not to be in tune with your emotions and often find ways or things to distract yourself, as feeling your emotions may be too painful, confusing or even uncomfortable. When you have identified the cause, then you can begin to start the journey of understanding who you are. In addition to accepting who you are (the good, bad and ugly) after all, no one is perfect.
Keeping a journal account of your emotions and awareness of yourself will help you to understand your thoughts and learnt behaviour that may be preventing you from your personal best such as, low self-esteem or self-sabotaging behaviour. For instance, if you believe that you are not good enough based on childhood experiences or past experiences, then you could transfer this learnt behaviour into all areas of your life, including work and personal relationships. Consequently, having people-pleasing tendencies or continually looking for validation prevents you from your inner power and you end up giving it away to others. Understanding yourself will contribute to a higher esteem, and you will became less emotionally dependent on others to make you happy, like or love you.
Understanding your personal qualities
It’s important to take time to understand, appreciate and value who you are, since you certainly can’t expect someone to understand or value you if you don’t. Conduct a self-assessment by creating a list of your natural gifts and talents to gain a deeper awareness of yourself. Ensure that you carry this exercise completely on your own instead of asking others, as the whole concept of this exercise is for you to understand yourself as opposed to what others think of you.
Breaking the negative cycle
When you are indecisive, it causes self-doubts. Self-doubt creates distrust, and this could contribute to low self-esteem. The more you understand yourself, the happier you will be and have less self-conflicting thoughts. When it comes to developing yourself, you are the only person that is responsible for your development. Any word that begins with “self” means that you’re accountable for that area of work, so getting others to build your esteem or identity would always be non-effective. So no matter how challenging this could be, you have to recognise that the results will be highly rewarding and it will help your decision making and help you take more control of your life.
Learn to enjoy your own company
If you don’t like or appreciate your company, how do you expect other people to like or enjoy your company? Start off by writing a list of things that you enjoy doing. Creating a list of hobbies will help you to be more fulfilled and enjoy your company. Having time with family and friends is highly essential and useful for your emotional wellbeing. However, it’s equally important to create time alone and enjoy your hobbies. You will never really appreciate how much you enjoy an activity on your own unless you try.
Too much distraction can be a hindrance to yourself, since continuously distracting yourself blinds you from developing areas such as your awareness and esteem, as you may be consciously or subconsciously avoiding having a relationship with yourself or numbing your emotions by:
- Using drugs and alcohol.
- Being overly busy, engaging in non-productive activities.
- Working long hours.
- Being too sexually active with multiple partners.
- Choosing partners that are emotionally damaged so you can fix them.
- Continuously having one relationship after another, and not having time to pause.
Learn to be emotionally available to yourself so that you understand and identify your emotions by frequently understanding the reasons why you feel the way you are feeling, such as “why do I feel sad, why do I feel vulnerable?”
About the author
I am a counsellor, coach and motivational speaker. I specialise in issues associated with relationships, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.
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