When we compare ourselves to other animals, we tend to realize our unique ability to recognize the existence of ourselves and others as beings with different and changing motivations, goals, and viewpoints. We are, in a way, conscious beings. This can be a somewhat unwarranted cause of pride, of course, but it is also just one side of the coin.
And while being gifted with conscience can be beneficial when it goes 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 deal with. And one of these possible problems can arise when a classic question inevitably arises in our stream of thought: Who am I?
Pandora’s box: who am I?
“Who am I?” is one of those existential questions which, if we do not know how to react, can become an obstacle to being happy. Knowing who you are and where you want to go is one of the bases for finding well-being not in big projects, but in all the details of everyday life.
But not being able to answer this question in a moment does not mean that all is lost. There is currently nothing that leads us to assume the ability to correctly ask and answer the question “who am I?” to be in itself an innate capacity, something immobile and independent of our choices and the environment in which we choose to live. Sometimes, you have to ask yourself this question to keep growingBecause it is an indicator of whether we are on the right track.
Also keep in mind that from the first minute our knowledge of ourselves is limited. Although it may seem misleading, there are many aspects of our own personality that are better known to those around us than to us. Because? because our perspective on much of what we do is biased.
Since our lives are more important to us than to most others, we have an interest in distorting reality, in interpreting what is happening to us, so that it fits into this narrative that we have created to answer the question. question of “who I am”; the story that supposedly explains what our existence is. As individuals. So we must be humble when it comes to drawing conclusions about who we are and admitting that there is always room for rectification.
When we say that not knowing how to find answers to identity questions can become a problem, we are not saying that the key is knowing whether or not to answer these types of questions with a precise and concrete sentence, as if it was a vital slogan. The important thing is to check, from our own subjectivity, 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 am I?” it is always beyond words.
for that it is worth detecting to what extent certain feelings of discomfort can focus on these doubts on the meaning of its own existence and its own identity.
If we cannot answer this question, it may mean that we are going through an identity crisis, a period in our life in which we may experience deep doubts about ourselves, doubts about the meaning of existence accompanied feelings of emptiness, loneliness.
However, when we managed to answer this question again, we re-engaged in the rhythm of the events that are happening in our lives, managing to be, this time, much more aware of our surroundings and more realistic in our thoughts. We are once again empowered to face life.
You must stay by your side despite the difficulties
Identity is forged throughout life, but there is a critical stage or period in which it is particularly relevant: adolescence. This has already been pointed out by psychologist Erik Erikson in his theory of psychosocial development. Erikson said the biggest obstacle to adolescent development is establishing an identity. For the author, the construction of identity cannot be understood without interaction with others.
Adolescents often go in search of “who am I?”, Because adolescence is a stage of discovery. Adolescents go through a period of self-awareness, And they begin to make groups of friends, to have relationships with the opposite sex, or to think about their future choices. But in addition to this self-knowledge, that is, what am I, where do I come from, what do I want to be? it also affects and is affected by self-esteem: do I want a lot or a little or nothing? Am I what I want to be ?, And self-efficacy: can I go where I want to go? Am I capable of being what I want to be?
Therefore, knowing who you are makes you stronger and, despite the difficulties that may arise in your life, it helps you overcome the difficulties.
Characteristics of identity building
Identity has a large emotional component, And knowing “who I am” has it too. In summary, some of the features that you need to consider regarding identity construction are:
Identity develops in interaction with others.
Identity is a socially constructed definition of being.
Identity is a subjective phenomenon, with a strong emotional component.
Identity formation involves a process of self-recognition and self-appreciation and the possibilities of facing challenges.
The existential crisis: an identity crisis
Knowing “who I am” is not always easy. And for some individuals, it becomes a tricky question because it scares them to face reality. When you don’t know who you are, where you are, or what path you want to take in life, anxiety, discomfort, and fear can take over. this this is called an existential crisis, and can be mentally very exhausting, In addition to causing psychological disturbance if the situation is not resolved properly.
The existential crisis is an identity crisis, and the solution is to reconnect with yourself. Want to know how? In this article we tell you: “Existential crisis: when we do not find meaning in our lives”
Self-reflection to reconnect with yourself
Unfortunately, this fear of facing reality can complicate the situation. And this fear of seeing things as they are can take you away from yourself. The path to solving identity issues is usually solved with realistic self-reflection. The practice of self-reflection is a very important aspect of a person’s development, And although it’s simple, it’s not easy.
As already mentioned, ask yourself “Who am I?” Is an existential question. And as such, it requires an active confrontation with the problems. Solutions hardly come alone, but we need to look for those situations that help us improve every day. This will only be possible through proper self-reflection, that is, through realistic self-knowledge and interaction with those around us, in addition to the habits that allow us to continue to grow.
If you want to know how to conduct realistic self-reflection, in this article we explain “Personal Development: 5 Reasons for Self-Reflection”.
A final reflection
Answer the question “Who am I?” involves, among other things, faced with the tension between what we think we are and what we want to be.
It’s practically impossible to value yourself without comparing yourself to a version of the ideal self, with everything you would like to be. Working on both self-esteem and our potential and abilities will make us face this issue without fear.