Identity Crisis In a World of Technology

What is an Identity Crisis and How Can it Occur?

An identity crisis is a developmental life event where a person questions themselves, their purpose and their place in the world around them. This is a time of deep analysis, reflection and exploration of various ways a person sees themselves. An identity crisis is not a diagnosable condition, instead it’s more of a point in life where there’s an increase in self-reflection

Forming your own unique identity is one of the most important internal conflicts people experience. This doesn’t just happen once in your life either. You might experience it multiple times as the world around you changes and as you grow. Learning to adapt and finding out new things about yourself as you go.

Whilst experiencing an identity crisis, you might find yourself pondering over certain questions more than usual, such as:

  • What am I passionate about?
  • What are my beliefs?
  • Who am I?
  • What are my values?
  • What is my purpose in life?
  • Where do I want to go?

Whilst reflecting on oneself is normal, an identity crisis can be brought about by a big change or increased stress:

  • Starting a new relationship
  • Ending a relationship
  • Starting a family
  • Grieving a loved one
  • Starting or losing a job
  • Moving locations

Technology’s Impact on Identity – Self-Identity vs Social Identity

Man looking at a like notification

Technology has changed the way people view themselves and others. It has also changed the way people express themselves. This allows for positive and negative impacts on an individual’s self-identity.

A person’s self-identity includes the knowledge and understanding of themselves, such as their personality, strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Everything that makes us unique is our self-identity.

Humans are social beings, and due to this we learn from things and people around us to better develop self-awareness and get feedback. It is due to this feedback that social media and technology have largely impacted the development of self-identity in people of all ages. Instead of being validated by people we love, social media has expanded our exposure to external validation. This doesn’t focus on the attributes you value but instead, what society values.

This can lead to developing less self-identity and more social identity, it can even lead to a focus on the uncertainty of your own value and purpose.

How Technology can Heighten Identity

Photos on a phone

It’s not all bad though. Technology while increasing our exposure to external sources of validation, depicts its own version of identity. Many people find social media to be an expression of freedom and exploration. While others find social media as a way to document their lives.

Social media and digital technology have the means to be a creative outlet for some people. Hobbies such as digital art, editing and photoshop, connecting with people of similar interests on group discussion posts can also add to one’s self-identity. Allowing them to showcase their strengths and be supported by external sources.

Social and digital media also allows the individual to be in control of their own content.

Social and digital media will always have an impact on the lives and identity of individuals, but you can control the impact it has on your self-identity. Questioning yourself and your place in this world is normal, it shows that you’re growing and learning.

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