By Alexa Keating
Did you accept or create your identity; many people are unaware that they made a choice! You accepted your identity if you became the person your parents, siblings or others in the early years of your life created. Metaphors like smart, brainy, athletic, and attractive, a salesman, a singer, and a poor or great student compete with lazy, worthless, ugly, fat, unattractive, loser or even the ‘black sheep’. Many people accepted and became the person defined by the people around them without ever considering that there was an option. You create your own identity when you determine your strongest traits and make a clear choice to be who you know you really are, and then be proud of it. So who are you?
Many times not making your own choice is the underlying cause of feeling like you have lost your identity. You may feel lost and spend a great deal of time searching for who you really are, perhaps at some much deeper level realizing that you are being guided to become who you were created to be rather than the person you were encouraged to become.
We feel uncomfortable in our own skin, feeling like an imposter when we try to fit in with other people’s perception of who we are. Many choose to escape this by moving and putting distance between themselves and family and friends or worse, creating a separation that allows them to be free of others ideas, which is painful.
Children and teens become depressed, feeling conflicted as they attempt to find a comfortable place to grow into their own ideal when it is in conflict with the perceptions of family and friends. They may have been placed in a category that became painful and frequently act on this by misbehaving, creating conflict in the family or even identifying with undesirable friends. Unfortunately this is frequently met with more force by those who created the conflict in their attempt to bring them back under control. It is a losing game for all. When children begin to act out it may be more helpful to pay attention to what they really like and talk about, the things that truly interest them. If those things are not harmful it may be better to encourage them to make a change that allows them to self-correct their course.
Regardless of the age, being misunderstood and feeling forced to be someone you are uncomfortable with opens the door to adopting a poor self-image, making us far more susceptible to making bad choices that could be life altering. It may even make one more susceptible to bullying or accepting painful taunts as reality. Everyone thrives under positive, non- judgmental and non-controlling guidance that simply encourages them to identify their best traits and embrace the things they love about themselves. It is the best foundation to begin building self-identity and discover the promise of who they can become.