How to Form Identity
Forming an identity is central to leading a healthy fulfilling life. A personal identity asks individuals to begin to answer “Who am I?” and “What am I like?” to form an accurate self-concept. Identity is not based on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity or class.
It is a “nest” of these facts or states combined with personal experiences, values and beliefs. To begin, forming an identity requires intense concentration and completely losing the ego.
5 Steps to Form Identity
1. Start a self-assessment.
Scan your life, lifestyle and the decisions you have made over the past few years, especially your early adult years. Without loathing yourself for your actions, select actions and decisions about which you feel guilty or not proud.
Write down this list of things, such as failed friendships, jobs you lost or actions that fell short of success. Do not concentrate on everything you have messed up on – think about things you can change, such as respect for differences in opinion or cultures.
2. Make a list of values you may have once had but lost.
For instance, you may have been dependable in times of stress, but stopped that when an employer repeatedly abused your kindness. In this example, write down “dependability.” If you are having trouble thinking of values, focus on values you admire in another person, like a best friend or sibling.
If your older brother is responsible and has a helpful sense of humor, write down these values. Compare this list of values with the list of vices and bad experiences you listed earlier. See what does not match up.
3. Abandon your old self.
Instead of feeling like you have nowhere to go, look at it as a new life to start. While re-establishing or developing friendships, practice being self aware.
4. Create self-esteem.
Do things that make you proud of your work. Join groups that share your interests. This sense of belonging will help you form the structure you need to grow your identity.
5. Move beyond the self.
If you do not want to spend years trying to figure out exactly what makes you tick, concentrate on figuring out how you can help others or be of service to the world.
Tips and Warnings
- When talking with friends, or making new friends, check that you do not mask your needs and wants.
- Do not try this process alone. Humans are social beings who need the help of others to form an identity.
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