Who am I?
When we compare ourselves with other animals, we are accustomed to reflecting on our unique capacity to recognize the existence of ourselves and of others as beings with different and changing motivations, objectives and points of view. We are, in a way, conscious beings . This may be reason for a certain unjustifiable pride, of course, but it is also just one side of the coin.
And is that although being endowed with consciousness can be advantageous to go hand in hand with our ability to think abstract things, it is also a source of potential problems that other species do not have to face. And one of those possible problems can arise when, inevitably, a classic question appears in our current of thought: Who I am?
Pandora's box: Who am I?
"Who I am?" is one of those existential questions that, if we do not know how to respond, they can become an obstacle when it comes to being happy. Knowing who you are and where you want to go is one of the bases for finding well-being not only in big projects, but in all the details of daily life.
But not being able to answer this question in a moment does not mean that everything is lost. Currently there is nothing that makes us suppose that the ability to adequately consider and successfully answer the question "who I am?" be in itself an innate capacity, something immovable and independent of our choices and the environment in which we choose to live. Sometimes, It is necessary to ask us this question in order to continue growing , because it is an indicator of whether we are on the right path.
In addition, we must bear in mind that, from the first minute, our knowledge about ourselves is limited. Although it may seem deceptive, many aspects of our own personality are better known by those around us than by us. Why? Why our vision of much of what we do is biased .
Since our life is more important to us than to the majority, we are interested in distorting reality, interpreting what is happening to us, so that it fits into that narrative we have created to give an answer to the question of "who I am" ; the story that supposedly explains what our existence is. as individuals. So, we must be humble when drawing conclusions about who we are, and admit that there is always room for rectification.
Beyond the words
When we say that not knowing how to find answers to identity questions can be a problem, we are not saying that the key is to know how to respond to these types of questions with a specific, concrete phrase, as if it were a vital slogan. The important thing is to check, from the subjectivity itself, to what extent we can come to recognize a series of ideas and images that we identify with ourselves. The answer to the question "who I am?" it is always beyond words.
Because it is worth detecting to what extent certain feelings of discomfort may have their focus in these doubts about the meaning of one's existence and one's own identity.
If we can not answer this question, it can mean that we are going through an identity crisis, a period of our life in which we can experience deep doubts about ourselves, doubts about the meaning of existence accompanied by feelings of emptiness, loneliness .
Now, when we get to answer this question again, we re-engage to the rhythm of the events that happen in our life, getting to be, this time, much more aware of what surrounds us and more realistic in our thoughts . We return to empower ourselves in front of life.
It is necessary to continue on the side of oneself despite the difficulties
The identity is forged throughout life, but there is a stage or critical period in which it has special relevance: adolescence. It was already highlighted by the psychologist Erik Erikson in his Theory of Psychosocial Development. Erikson said that the biggest obstacle that teenage development must face is the establishment of an identity. For the author, the construction of identity can not be understood without interaction with others.
Teenagers usually go in search of that "who I am?", because adolescence is a stage of discovery. Adolescents go through a period of self-knowledge , and begin to make groups of friends, to interact with the opposite sex or to think about their options for the future.But besides this self-knowledge, that is, what am I, where do I come from, what do I want to be ?, the "who am I?" Also affects and is affected by self-esteem: do I love myself a lot or a little or nothing? Am I what I want to be ?, and self-efficacy: Am I able to go where I want to go? Am I capable of being what I want to be?
So, Knowing who you are makes you stronger And, despite the adversities that may arise in your life, it helps you overcome difficulties.
Characteristics of identity construction
Identity has a great emotional component , and knowing "who I am" also has it. In summary, some of the characteristics that you should consider regarding the construction of identity are the following:
- Identity develops in interaction with others.
- Identity is a socially constructed definition of being.
- Identity is a subjective phenomenon, with a strong emotional component.
- The formation of the identity implies a process of recognition and valorization of oneself and of the possibilities to face the challenges.
The existential crisis: an identity crisis
Knowing "who I am" may not always be easy. And for some individuals it becomes a complicated question, because they are afraid to face reality. When you do not know who you are, where you are, or know the path you want to follow in life, anxiety, discomfort and fear can take control over you. This is what is known as an existential crisis, and mentally very exhausting , in addition to causing psychological disorders if the situation is not resolved correctly.
The existential crisis is an identity crisis, and the solution lies in reconnecting with oneself. Do you want to know how? In this article we explain: "Existential crisis: when we do not find meaning in our lives"
Self-reflection to reconnect with oneself
Unfortunately, this fear of facing reality can complicate the situation. And this fear of seeing things as they are can keep you away from yourself. The path towards the resolution of identity problems is usually solved with realistic self-reflection. Practicing self-reflection is a very important aspect in the development of a person , and although it is simple, it is not easy.
As already mentioned, ask yourself "Who am I? It is an existential question. And as such, requires an active confrontation towards the problems . The solutions hardly come alone, but we must look for those situations that help us improve every day. Only through correct self-reflection, that is, through realistic knowledge of oneself and interaction with what surrounds us, as well as habits that allow us to continue growing, will this be possible.
If you want to know how to carry out a realistic self-reflection, in this post we explain it to you: "Personal Development: 5 reasons for self-reflection".
A final reflection
Answer the question "Who am I?" implies, among other things, face the tension between what we think we are and what we want to be .
It is practically impossible to value yourself without comparing yourself to a version of the I ideal, with everything that we would like to be. Working both on self-esteem and on our potential and capabilities will make us face that question without fear.