“I don’t know who I am anymore. I feel lost. I don’t recognize myself anymore, and I’ve lost all hope that it will get better.”
If you’ve been feeling like this lately, know that you are not alone. The loss of identity and losing your sense of purpose is something that has, in a way, become contagious. There are many people suffering from this phenomenon, and every individual experiences it differently.
Some people are able to function on a daily basis because it’s not that severe, whereas some people are simply unable to deal with the most trivial tasks because the feeling of not being in touch with themselves is literally draining and killing them.
Now, you’re probably thinking about the possible reasons for this phenomenon. And to be frank, there are multiple reasons starting from your childhood.
Growing up in a healthy environment
The opportunity to grow up in a healthy environment is of utmost importance for every child. Now, what does healthy environment mean? It means that the child is given freedom to express himself and decide for himself.
It means being loved by his family, accepted, and not abused emotionally, let alone physically. And when parents are acting overly protective toward their children, they are unintentionally destroying their children’s potential to establish their own identity.
Think of it this way. If you’re constantly deciding what your child is supposed to do, your child will be unable to decide what’s good for himself in the future. And that is when the loss of identity begins to be conceived.
If you feel like you’ve never had an opportunity to choose during your childhood, this might be the reason why you feel like you no longer know who you are. It is because you’ve never been able to get to know yourself in the first place.
Losing yourself in a busy lifestyle
Crowded streets, hurrying to work, hurrying back home to serve dinner to your family, worrying about your deadlines, worrying whether you’re wearing the right outfit, worrying whether you’ll be able to pay rent and so on.
A busy lifestyle is the main culprit for almost 90% of mental and emotional adversities. When you have a lot things to do and you’re constantly stressing yourself about everything, you create problems and barriers in your head, and you become a problem to yourself.
Then you start to think: “I don’t know who I am anymore.” And do you know why it is so? It’s because you no longer see yourself as human being due to all of these things which are dominating you and forcing you to dance to their own music.
You lose yourself in the pursuit of things that are draining you
If you’re constantly occupied with negative thinking like: “What will happen next?”, you will be unable to enjoy the present and live the carefree life that you deserve. Being overly pessimistic about things is another reason for feeling lost and not knowing what you did wrong to come to this.
Always think positively no matter the circumstances. Remember that you are not your job. You are not your past mistakes. You are not your insecurities. They don’t own you. They are all part of you because you chose it so.
You are the one who defines yourself
Bad things don’t define your identity. Only your thoughts and actions define who you are, and if you don’t recognize yourself anymore, it means you weren’t being fair to yourself.
You were too harsh to yourself, and you neglected your body and mind’s desire to express themselves and do what makes you happy. It means that you haven’t been yourself for a long time because you were too busy chasing other things that have killed your inner self. And now is the time to fix this.
1. Get to know yourself (again)
Think of the things that you used to enjoy, and write them on a sheet of paper if needed. As you’re imagining them, absorb the feeling you get. Do you feel happy and content about it? Does it make you feel utterly better about yourself?
It probably does because that’s who you really are. Your preferences are a part of your being, and you should never neglect them because you’re too busy with other things. If you’ve always enjoyed playing volleyball, get up, call your friends, and start making plans to play again.
Yet, if you’ve never been interested in any particular activity, start trying everything, and, believe me, you’ll know when you’ve found something worth spending your time on. The goal here is to find that little spark and ignite the fire that will revive your sense of identity. And this will take time, but believe me, you’ll succeed.
2. Make decisions
Making decisions is closely related to your identity because expressing your wishes and desires is something that carves your identity. And if you’ve always been ashamed of letting people know what you really want and what you really like, the chances are that you’ve suffocated yourself in order to appease others.
Let your opinion be heard on every single topic and discussion. Make a decision that from now on, you’ll begin making decisions, and you won’t stop until it becomes your second nature.
When you’re in a shopping mall, decide that you’ll buy that t-shirt even though it looks like something no one would ever buy. But, who gives a shit? You don’t care if others will like it. The most important thing is that you like it, and you’ll be the one who’ll wear it without the fear of being judged for it.
Start making decisions, from the small to the big ones, and soon you’ll discover your inner self. Be happy for who you really are, and appreciate your flaws because that’s the key ingredient when it comes to restoring your sense of self.
3. Stay engaged
When you’ve finally discovered your preferences, now you need to stay engaged by doing things you like. It means you need to make this a part of your routine because it’s the only way to your infinite happiness.
Creating a routine where you do things that make your heart beat faster and make you feel like you’ve found your purpose means shaping your identity. When you repeat actions that make you happy over and over again, you’re creating happiness.
Staying engaged also means staying in touch with yourself and your inner fears. Never neglect them because they will come back to you and create enormous consequences when you least expect it.
Always face your fears because they are also a part of who you are, and they should be treated that way. Love all of your sides, positive and less positive, because if you don’t, nobody else will.
You’re the one who’s in charge of your own happiness, and nothing and no one has anything to do with it. Agreeing with others will never define you. Neither will having the best job in the world. It is something that you do, not who you are. And knowing who you are makes you who you really are.
I’m a former English language major, copy typing freelancer and between the two I’ve always enjoyed drawing (abstract art), singing and writing. Yes, I’m an artistic soul that always wanted to make the world a better place. Today I’m lucky to be the writer on this site and to share my deepest thoughts with you and support you through your daily struggles. I hope we’re gonna get along and I’ll give my best not to disappoint you. XOXO