Everyone’s heard of the mid-life crisis, but you can reach revolutionary points in your self-growth at any age. Sometimes people feel lost and out of touch with themselves even after spending decades building their life and forming relationships. It’s okay to feel like you don’t know who you are. There are always steps you can take to fix that.
Read about these eight steps to finding your own identity to piece together your true sense of self. With a little time and patience, you’ll soon establish your place in the world and find yourself again.
1. Monitor Your Feelings
People like to say emotions are fleeting, but where they come from speaks to who you are. As you go through your daily routine, monitor how you feel and react to different experiences. Do you feel like a failure if you have to push back a deadline, or feel fulfilled if you accept a group project’s leadership role?
The things that make you happy, scared and excited will tell you more about your personality that forms the roots of your feelings. You can identify your strengths and weaknesses to construct a rough foundation for your identity.
2. Discover Your Personality
Your personality contains the core of your identity, so you should consider taking a personality test if you’re unsure how to describe yourself. It can more clearly define your preferences, dislikes and even your compatibility with friends and love interests. Putting a title or name to each part of yourself solidifies your identity so you can grasp and hold onto it.
3. Talk With Your Loved Ones
You may not be able to answer questions that pinpoint parts of your identity, so talk with your loved ones. People who have raised you or known you for a while can talk about what makes you stressed or happy, or react to different situations.
4. Identify Your Heroes
Whom do you look up to, or considered a hero in the past? People idolize and respect their heroes because they have admirable personality traits. You might want to draw on these people for inspiration. Write down what those things are, to see what you have or don’t have in your identity, that you would like to embody one day.
5. Reflect on the Past
The best self-awareness happens when you reflect on your past. Look closely at your mistakes and successes. Think about how major life events shaped you into who you are today. If you prioritize this practice and start a self-reflection routine, you’ll always learn something new about yourself and grow from it.
6. List Your Core Values
Everyone has a core set of values that drives them. Your core values are what define your morals and set the limits on what you will or will not do. These fundamental beliefs determine what’s right and wrong for your life and guide you through every decision.
You can also have core values that aren’t related to ethics and beliefs. Your code of conduct may adhere to principles like:
- Always give 110%.
- Never stop improving yourself.
- Think of others before yourself.
- Dream big and don’t settle.
- Make a difference every day.
Every standard and ideal you believe in will form your identity’s core and help redefine it when you feel lost.
7. Explore New Things
Sometimes people feel disconnected from themselves because they don’t know what they enjoy. If you’ve spent months or years only focused on taking care of your family, working or running a business, you may not know what you like to do to have fun.
Hobbies are a critical part of your identity. They shape your interests, give you joy and help you grow through new experiences. Don’t worry about needing to budget for them, either. You can always read about free hobby ideas to find things to do that don’t come with a price tag.
8. Avoid Judging Yourself
No one can thrive in an environment where they feel judged and uncomfortable. Avoid judging yourself as you go on a personal journey to cultivate your personality. Accept your findings with grace so you don’t put undue pressure on your growth.
Even if new things surprise you or contradict who you thought you were, embrace them and continue moving forward so self-love follows each discovery.
Grow With Yourself
Even as you struggle to find yourself, remember that identity isn’t a fixed concept. You’ll always change and adapt as life goes on and you experience significant life events and new situations. Don’t expect yourself to stay the same. Healthy growth and a lifetime of changes are positive signs that you fully understand and accept your identity.