I believe one of our biggest challenges as humans is trying to align who we are currently and who we want to be in the future. It causes us distress and sometimes we don't know which direction to go in or how to be ourselves. There's pressure from people in our lives and from our society to be a certain way. It can make us feel discouraged to be who we really are or we may not even have an idea of who we are. This post is to help guide you if you find that you're struggling with this.
First, let's start from the beginning. As a child and teenager, did you feel that you were given freedom to express yourself or did you feel that your parents and other adults limited you? If you felt limited, think about the standards they put on you. What personality traits did they dislike that you felt you had to hide? What goals did they try to implement on you that weren't really your goals? How did they react to you when you tried to do things your way? Now think about how that still affects you now. Even if we've moved out and do our own thing, those things can still be deeply rooted without us being consciously aware. It's important to recognize how it still affects us. Are you scared of criticism? Do you generally play it safe? Do you seek validation frequently? Are you constantly watching what you say and how you act because you don't want to be judged? If so, it's time to recognize where those feelings come from so you can overcome them.
Second, as we become teenagers and then adults, our social lives and cultural norms begin to affect who we are. Social media is part of our daily routine, at least for most of us. It's hard not to compare our lives to other people's. Fitting in and trying to be trendy also takes over. We look at what everyone is wearing, what careers they're going into, what hobbies they're part of, etc. Our friends may have certain attitudes about things that you want to accommodate so you don't feel left out. Maybe your friends have made you feel bad about something, even if it wasn't intentional. Are you insecure at times? Do you feel that you have try to fit in? Do you find that you get inspired by other people instead of getting inspired by yourself? Do you struggle with coming up with your own ideas? It's good to have role models but you shouldn't rely on them to figure out your path and goals. It's important to remember you're your own person and to dig deeper to find out who you really are and what you like and want out of life.
Third, we get so engulfed in our obligations and day to day life that it's hard not to feel lost in our routine. It's important to have work/life balance. When you have time to yourself, try to do things you enjoy. Don't just work, eat, sleep, and repeat. I know it's easier said than done but try to venture outside of your comfort zone. Think about stuff you've always wanted to do since you could remember and what it's going to take to get there. Make time for things that contribute to your well-being physically and mentally. Be around people you can be yourself with, where you're not worried about embarrassment and judgement. Be alone too. Spend time with yourself so you can learn how to make yourself happy.
Overall, it's important to question your intention behind your decisions. Are you doing something because you really want to or is it because someone else is part of the reason? Are you committing to things because you're genuinely passionate about them or are you having trouble completing projects and ideas because you were inspired for the moment due to an external factor? Is the person you want to be and work towards created from your standards or other people's? Are you currently trying to be yourself or be like other people? Step back and look at things from the outside. How much are you doing things for yourself? How much of you is authentic? The key is looking to your inner child before much was able to influence you. Now it's your job to be the inner parent as well, and nurture that child so they can grow to be who you want to be ultimately. Remember life is not a competition. Your journey will always be different than someone else's. As you enter adulthood, the control people have over you should be less prominent. The more you try to be like other people or try to fit into other people's standards, the more you lose yourself. You are more free to make your own choices and be your own person. Act accordingly.