Knowing who you are–authentic identity

Identity development is a lifelong process. As children, we tend to take on the values of our parents and immediate culture. Then, during adolescence, we try on different roles to see how they fit Erikson called this period Identity vs Role confusion.

Even as adults, we ask the question, “Who am I?”

But identity development doesn’t stop in the teen years. In fact, at pivotal events in our lives, we might feel a shift in our identity.  For example, after my parents died, I wasn’t the same person anymore. Sure, many of my core personality characteristics were still the same, but my priorities shifted, and strengths that I didn’t know I had came to the forefront. I view the world from a different lens now.

Read on to find out how having a clear identity can impact your well-being.

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Finding an authentic sense of identity

Studies show that having a keen and authentic sense of identity contributes to healthy self-esteem and well-being. Trying to be someone we are not exhausts us, riddles us with self-doubt, and fills our mind with negative thoughts. We struggle to impress people in order to feel valued, but ultimately it’s valuing our true self that makes the difference.

“When acceptance or approval is my goal, and it doesn’t work out, that can trigger shame for me. If the goal is authenticity and they don’t like me, I’m ok.” –Brene Brown

We choose to figure out who we are and who we are becoming. Living authentically is a practice, just like learning any skill. To learn more about how to find your authentic self, read my previous post.