Why does it matter whether you know who you are or not?
Knowing who you are gives you confidence and holds you firmly within a level of personal power than no one else can take away.
How do you know if you’re not really connected to who you are?
Your sense of identity is defined by what you think and believe or how you express your values. You find yourself yelling, screaming, and wondering whether anyone really cares about you. Not being connected to who you are, outside the various roles you play in life, leads to feeling anxiety in more and more situations. Noticing all the ways the world is stacked against you, without noticing the support you receive.
Knowing who you are let’s you connect to your values and express them in a way that is fully in alignment with your values, while also giving yourself grace for the ways you can’t live 100% according to an ideal vision you hold.
Knowing who you are improves all your relationships and makes it easier to step into social situations you might otherwise avoid.
How do you discover who you are?
This can be the hard part for many people. It takes personal reflection. It requires you to face the parts of yourself that you don’t like. For many people, it feels safer to continue not knowing who they are then it does to face those parts of themselves they wish didn’t exist.
This is especially true if they’ve previously used either thoughts, beliefs, or actions to define who they are. Often people who use external words for self definition use those external definitions to justify acting or behaving in ways that aren’t actually in alignment with their true self. This makes it even harder to face the parts of themselves they don’t like.
For me this was declaring that anyone who voted a certain way in a certain election (I’m in Canada, this has nothing to do with Trump) should unfriend me immediately. My values include connection and family. This declaration went against both of those values. But since I didn’t really know who I was, I towed the line of people I connected with.
How to face the darkness
Facing the dark parts of ourselves is really about giving grace, or self-compassion. It’s recognizing that we did the best we could with what we had, and then acknowledging that we grew.
The only people who aren’t at least mildly embarrassed by the things they’ve said in the past, haven’t grown since they said those things.Tweet
It’s also useful to face the future rather than the past. Our past shows us what we want to shift, how we want to grow, but our focus should be on what we’re doing to move forward as well as how we’ll know when we get there.
Okay, I know who I am, now what?
I don’t think it’s possible to ever be fully self-actualized. There’s always something else we can learn, some other way we can shift.
I am confident in who I am, I hold my own power in a way that some people find intimidating, but there’s always something I notice myself doing that isn’t really in alignment with who I want to be.
I lived with myself for 28 years before I started to get a grasp on who I was. I was 35 before I saw the way I was giving away my own power day after day. I was 39 before I understood what my values called me to do. I was 40 before I understood the difference between living according to my values and using my values to guide me. At 41 I made new discoveries about who I am. I’m sure I will continue to learn more and more about myself as I grow.
I wish the same thing for you. I wish for you to know yourself in a way that others recognize your personal power even when you don’t tell them about that power.