We think we know ourselves inside and out until the interviewer asks us “Tell me about yourself? Who are you?”, and that’s the moment where in a micro second, our brain analyses and realizes that it does not, in fact, know what it is. We go home and yet still, that seemingly simple question keeps us up, wondering, thinking and yearning for an answer to know who we are.
This is way more common than you think, trust me, you are not alone in this. Psychologically speaking, this state of not knowing who you really are starts in your adolescence. Adolescence is a period of major transition in a person’s life. Here, we need to decide what we wish to do for the rest of our lives as well as we are not sure where we stand, which in turn makes us question what we like and who even are we. This part of life is prone to leading many young adults into an anxious stage of life, complete with many wrong choices (like selecting a major you weren’t cut out for), decisions, thoughts and feelings. It also leads to a very rocky ride full to the brim with anxiety and even sadness.
Causes For The Anxious State
We feel quite anxious once we realize that we don’t really know who we are due to many reasons including but not limited to:
- The fact that we are required to make some major life decisions in this stage of life: We need to decide what we wish to do and be for the rest of our lives. This isn’t an easy decision as education is getting harder to acquire due to the significant rise in tuition fee along with basic living. Basically, its impossible to afford to receive education while also living stress free with no debts. This also puts an added amount of pressure to choose wisely because we know that its not an easy task to change majors and universities.
- The fact that for almost eighteen years we have been alive and functioning, for eighteen years we have “known” ourselves better than anyone else; every secret, every thought, every wish. Thus, when it dawns on us that we actually have no idea what we are, we transport ourselves into a panic mode.
- The fact that not knowing yourself makes you guess every decision a thousand times more, because you are stuck in that constant loop of “Is this really what I want?”, which becomes stressful because you are unable to even perform a de-stressing activity because even that requires stressing over whether you want it or not.
- The fact that we are not sure where we stand. In this stage we are neither adults nor children. People don’t know how to treat us and neither do we know how to treat ourselves.
Discover Yourself Through These Simple Steps!
Following are some simple steps which will help you in discovering and finding yourself a great deal!
Start As A Blank Canvas
The first step to discovering and finding who you really are is to get rid of all the previous opinions about yourself and start fresh and clean. Its true, we all are different with different groups of people; we are pone to changing or altering our personality to fit into a group and this can create a deep rooted concept and view for something in accordance with one of the temporary and fake personalities. For example: all my friends love the TV show F.R.I.E.N.D.S and despite trying my hardest to like it during the initial days of knowing about it, I couldn’t. Nevertheless, I maintained that I did like it in front of my friends and through the years I managed to convince my own brain about liking it as well.
So in order to truly know yourself, you must first get rid of all previous views.
Make A List Of All Things You Genuinely Enjoy Or Not
Listing and writing things down is a great way to gather your thoughts. On a piece of paper, start listing down things which you genuinely enjoy, and in a separate column, make a list of thing which genuinely do not please you. This will significantly help you keeping track of your own, pure and personal views, likes and dislikes.
Make A List Of Things Which You Are Good At And Not Good At
Just because we enjoy something does not necessarily mean that we are good at it also. For example: I enjoy cooking but I am terrible at it. Similarly like the previous point, list down things which you are good at. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a skill like writing, drawing, painting, cooking, etc, it can be psychological or abstract too, like for example, being good at making others feel good and happy, etc. This list will give you a deeper insight into where your talents lie.
Find What You Are Passionate About
Just because you are good at something does not necessarily mean that we are passionate about it as well. For example: I am good with making arts and crafts but I am passionate about Animal Rights. Your passions are one of the core parts of what makes up your personality. Contemplate and decide what you feel the most strongly for.
Take External, Objective Help
If you find the above steps hard in knowing who you are then consider taking some external help for unbiased views. Ask a friend to tell you the answers to the above questions and more, ask for a feedback and a report of your behavior. Even if your friend fails to provide answers, worry not, because Psychology has got your back!
Consider taking to a psychologist about discovering and finding yourself; they are trained professionals who can help you reach your truth. There are also many personality tests. One of the most famous is MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory). Consider taking this test and discovering who you really are in a wide spectrum.