How do you define yourself?
When someone asks you about yourself, what do you say?
Many of us my feel comfortable with our answers, but for others of us, describing our identity is not so straightforward. This is particularly true in times of transition, when the roles we are used to filling disappear:
We finish school (at whatever stage or for whatever reason).
We lose or leave a job.
An important relationship ends.
At times like these, when the routines and rhythms that we are used to in our lives change or disappear, we suddenly realize how dependent our identities were upon these things. Losing them has changed a deep—almost fundamental—part of how we view ourselves.
How do we find our grounding again? How do we create a new identity for ourselves when the roles we used to play no longer fit? How do we know our tastes and opinions are our own and not the product of our environments and circumstances?
There are some things you should not do:
Do not define yourself in relation to other people. You are more than somebody else’s child, parent, sibling, spouse, friend, or S.O. These are a part of you, but you transcend them.
Do not form your identity around someone else’s hopes, dreams, and aspirations. You cannot live through another person. You cannot be vicariously passionate.
Do not reduce yourself to a single factor. You are multifaceted.
But there are also things you can do to explore your evolving identity:
Read a book or listen to an album in a genre you’ve never tried before.
Try a new food.
Find something that challenges your current tastes or point of view and give it a respectful chance.
Dig deep in to something you love until it teaches you something new.
Above all, be honest with yourself.
Finding out who you are is a long journey.
Don’t expect an answer overnight.
And don’t be afraid to be many things along the way
Are you afraid of changing your mind?
Are you afraid that changing your interests will make you a different person?