Our generation places a strong emphasis on self-identity, that is, the knowledge and understanding of who we are and where we belong. You may have come across the term “identity crisis” in your reading. This refers to those who are inwardly confused and experience loneliness because they do not quite know who they are. We live in a world and generation where the importance of knowing one’s identity cannot be over-emphasized. And so, many people spend most of their life searching for their true identity. Self-identity does not entirely have much to do with education. There are lots of educated fellows who are also still searching for who they are.
This begs the question: How do I discover who I am?
A great deal of research has been done on self-identity by psychologists, sociologists, and other experts because it is one of the major contemporary issues around. They however suggest that there are three underlying elements when it comes to personal identity. The first is, “a sense that one belongs” (i.e. sense of belonging), second is, “a sense of being worthwhile” and lastly, “a sense of being able to contribute.” These three elements are essential to get a complete personal identity. The absence of any of the aforementioned ultimately leads to an identity crisis.
A sense of belonging gives way for our personality to function effectively. The truth is that many of the people we see having this issue seem outwardly secure but feel deeply insecure within. A lot of us find ourselves in places where we sense we do not belong. When the environment in which we find ourselves or live, think, and create is broken up, the cohesive force of belonging that gives the personality what it needs to function disintegrates and finally disappears. When this happens, we are left feeling confused and inwardly deprived. Every one of us has a world view and a supposed framework where we live, work, think, and create. That environment gives validity and meaning to all we do.
More so, another element of self-awareness or identity is the sense of being worthwhile. What we need to realize about our worth is that it is not something that we can reach on our own. It is the result of the thousands of messages and impressions that we received from those who nurtured and raised us. If when we looked into their eyes we saw delightful acceptance, love, and value, then we will have come to think of ourselves as worthwhile. If on the other hand, we looked into their eyes and saw hostility, non-acceptance, or even rejection. Then it is fairly certain that we will have grown up with little sense of value and think of ourselves as worthless.
I find it very necessary to point out that, where there is a high sense of value, there is a high sense of identity and where there is a low sense of value there is a low sense of identity. Now, from where do you get your sense of value?
The sense of being able to contribute is another element of self-identity. To function effectively as persons and to have a true sense of who we are, we need to also be able to contribute positively to the community around us. This means we need to make a reasonable impact wherever we find ourselves. Have it at the back of your mind that it is not so much the scale and magnitude of your contribution. But the quality of it, that makes for a sense of wholeness and completeness. Backgrounds may make us feel we can only give a little to live. But whatever we do, if we give the best of our ability, we will feel a high sense of achievement. The more effective our contribution, the greater our sense of identity.
When it comes to self-identity it is usually the combination of so many innate abilities, traits, and interests that you specifically selected to identify yourself with.
Your self-identity is simply who you see or define yourself to be. Until we can all come to the point where we can sincerely answer the question of, “who am I?” we may not understand the concept of self-identity. What anyone can do for you is to teach you how to develop a positive identity for yourself so you can self-actualize your potential as a human. Be conscious about it, be deliberate about it, putting in your best to it as you unravel your self-identity.
Written by Babawale Babatunde