Knowing one’s identity is one of the biggest achievements one can be a have in their life. This is important because the beliefs that one has about who they are, forms the basis of which one interacts with others, shape ones view of the world and will determine the development of a person into maturity. As much as knowing our identity is important, it is a hard to achieve. This mainly because our identities are usually influenced, consciously or unconsciously, by multiple factors such as race, religion, class, ethnicity and gender.
For one to identify their true self, it is paramount that one does an in depth self assessment of their lives. As self assessment will ensure that one accurately identifies their personality, abilities and competencies. A self assessment process helped me to identify my own personality. I was able to realize that I am extroverted. I love being with people and feel lonely easily when am alone.
I also learned that I love working with people and thrive well in teams and groups. I love outdoor activities like hiking and riding my bicycle, especially with a group of people I know well. This said, it does not mean that self assessment is a one day activity. It may take time and that is the reason why some people may take longer to discover their identity compared to others. Self assessment is a daily activity, especially when it comes to understanding interpersonal traits, it is not possible to do a self assessment once and get a conclusive decision on one's identity, this is because people change based on the kind of company they hang around with, religious belief or the kind of environment or occupation. Self assessment may also not be possible in the present as people may also change on the basis of future expectations, fears and experiences that may change people's behavior and views of life, for instance a divorce may change one’s view of marriage and will make them negative towards issues like dating and courtship, because they may feel like if their parents' marriage did not work then no other relationship can work.
In line with self assessment, I have come to appreciate the advantages one accrues from understanding one's identity. Knowing my identity has really helped me to realize my potentials, those things that I am good at and has saved me the time I would have wasted trying to do other things that am not so good at. Getting a good grip of my identity has enabled me to be more flexible with my decision. Understanding the limits of how far I can be able to accommodate ideas and suggestions from other people. This is because I know myself well enough to know what I am comfortable with and what I am not comfortable with based on my beliefs and personality. Identity enables us to more decisive and makes us rarely dissuaded in our course in life. We become more of ourselves when we rightly know our identity. This does not mean that our decisions will always be right, now we will slip at some point, but knowing ourselves will help us take responsibility of our actions and be able to positively learn from our mistakes.
Taking responsibility of one's actions will only be possible when one has certain values guiding their actions. Values for me keeps you in check and it will take values to enable us to make the right decisions. I have gotten myself in situations where my values of honesty have been threatened, these situations have included times when I have been required to lie for a friend who has been caught in a compromising situation that can land them into serious problems if the truth is known. I have found myself compromising in some cases, though few because most of the time I have had to stand my ground and ask my friends to take responsibility for their actions. The ability to say yes or no is a characteristic of a well established identity. This is because sometimes the society will require you to do things that are contrary to what you believe in, this is mostly brought about because everyone is doing it or the act is justified on the basis of the effect it will have on someone. I believe just because everyone is doing something does not make it right, so it will take one being able to establish their true identity so as to be able to resist external influences that will lead them to compromise their views on certain things.
It is important for one to be able to understand themselves and get to understand who they truly are. This helps one be motive in life and be able to live with a positive attitude about life. This has been vital in ensuring that one is able to cope with the many pressures present I the world like separation, loss of a loved one and unemployment. It however important to note that discovering one’s identity may take time and this may be frustrating. It has been noted that not knowing one’s identity has lead to a lot of the problems that people are going through now in the society. Identity disorders are believed to be the major causes of increased issue of drug abuse and suicide. Identity disorders have the potential of causing depression and anxiety may people’s lives as many people seek acceptance in the society.
Bruce H (2012). The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press,
Mark L & June P (2012). Handbook of Self and Identity. New York: Guilford Press.