Young boy playing with block toys

The Building Blocks of Identity Development

What is an identity? How do we know what parts of our identity are truly ours and not a projection of those around us?

The different aspects of creating an identity can make it a very difficult thing to do. Especially in a time of change or stress which is when the assurance of who you are is important for your mental health and sense of self.

There are two areas influencing someone’s identity, they are external and personal influences.

External Influences

Personal Influences

Family or parental beliefs and values
Friends beliefs and valuesGoals
Social media valuesValues

 

Finding the balance between the external and personal influences can be the hardest part of developing your own identity. The opinions of others and pressure of social media can have enormous effects on the way someone views themselves.

If these external influences are negative they can have a negative impact on the way we view ourselves and in turn, affect our sense of self and identity in a negative way.

Building your Own Sense of Self and IdentityYoung girl thinking

Being able to identify your own values, beliefs and interests is the key to developing and building upon your own identity. It’s good to draw from the values of people who are close to you. Though, it’s essential to find the balance between who you want to be and who they are.

Here’s how you can achieve this:

Identify your Potential

We all have something we do better than anyone else. Even if it’s something small, it’s something you can be proud of. If you struggle to identify a potential of your own, ask the people around you for feedback or you can find activities to do which can help discover your potentials.

Define your Values

Your values and beliefs are a fundamental aspect of your identity so the first step would be to recognise what values and beliefs matter most to you. You don’t have to have all the answers right away but you can reflect or try to identify some values and beliefs as you go about your day.

Make your Own Choices

You can build your confidence in your decision making and make choices based on your own wants and needs, not the expectations of others. This can be difficult to overcome at first but start small. Buying a clothing item because you like it or going to an event because you want to experience it.

A man thinking

Spend Time Alone

It’s the best way to get to know yourself and discover new interests!

Consider your Purpose

Once you have a stronger and more structured sense of self, you can begin to align your identity and your purpose together. This can help direct the way you want to implement and live through your values and beliefs. This can help reinforce feelings of success and accomplishment and encourage you to be more self-confident and content.

Identity is not a solid, never changing answer to who you are as a person. Your identity comes in waves, it grows and changes with the experiences you have within your life. You might find yourself connecting with multiple versions of yourself over the course of years. That’s the great thing about being a unique person. You might grow out of one identity but you will always be able to connect to another.

If you are having difficulty with how you view your identity or struggle developing an identity, it will be helpful to talk to a health care professional.

More Information

Our Psych Up! resources in August are based on ‘Identity’. Thus, make sure to stay tuned for our weekly blog post updates, as well as our podcasts and webinar.

For more information about identifying identity or a sense of self or anything else mentioned, get in touch with our team today.

Send us an email, give us a call on (02) 9929 8515, check out our LinkedIn and Twitter or find more Psych Up! resources here.