Are you wandering through the life not really knowing what the hell are you doing? Or not really knowing what to identify yourself with? Lately I hear quite often from my peers “I’m still looking for myself” or “What is the purpose of life?” and I’m wondering where is this necessity coming from? Where are you looking for yourself? Outside? Everywhere? Well.. you’re right here so look inside. 😀
I came into the conclusion that this might be caused by lack of inner self definition and started to explore personal identity. It lies deep in your core and has an impact on everything you do and think. On the top of that it is essential for living in society. How do you think about yourself? Who would you like to be and what are you striving for? Identity gives you sense of who you are, your values, characteristics, behaviors and believes. What do you identify yourself with and what do you surround yourself with?
Times have changed bringing new struggle
As the social environment changes our identities become more fragile yet more important. In the past people had less freedom and choices but more certainty and sense of belonging, rootedness and continuity. This was assured by living in smaller groups, strong traditions, hierarchy and religion. Since these old structures declined, obligations and duty was replaced by freedom, endless options, uncertainty and self-doubt. Today we praise unrealistic unattainable ideals and money instead of God.
Attachment to the wrong measures
We learned to look for the satisfaction and self definition in external world. Women are chasing photoshopped ideal of beauty and youth advertised by market and men strive for strength in form of big muscles and money. We linked self definition with stupid external measures and comparing ourselves with each other. I guess these measures are mostly income, university degrees, career (high job positions), amount of destinations visited (yes, travelling is topic for comparison to see how much your life sucks), likes on social media, popularity, material possessions, amount of friends, love partners, etc…
Problem is that the external world is constantly changing. It is very uncertain and we have very little control over it. We’re facing too many distractions (opinions and choices) and information overload as we all have unlimited connection to internet. Therefore our identities are cluttered, distracted, unstable, based on wrong measures, melting together and hard to define. They are almost like the haulm of grass moved by every wind blow.
Freedom requires discipline
It is the irony that people spend huge amount of time on developing the company identities from the visual aspects to the core brand values and strategy. In the same time we neglect our personal identities. We should get inspired by this and work on our self-definition with discipline and responsibility in order to generate stability from within.
For this reason I’ve created this small workbook with questions to help explore personal identity and make people more self-assured and grounded. By answering the questions and really thinking about the topics in the workbook people can understand themselves better. It should be practiced on regular basis though. It is not like you read a book and you’re good to go. It is more like creating a healthy habit of self talk.
Who are you and what do you stand for? Check out the identity guide!