How to Overcome Identity Crisis

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A person’s identity is the way that she sees herself. A person often identifies herself through the things that she does and the objects she identifies with. The psychologist Erik Erikson coined the term "identity crisis." Erikson stated that during adolescence, people struggle to become more independent from their parents and form their own identities. Today, the term "identity crisis" is used to describe any person who is struggling to find her identity. This happens most often during times of major life transition.

Accept that you are no longer the person that you wish to be. If you are dealing with an identity crisis, you have likely come to the realization that there are major parts of yourself that you would like to change. Work to accept this knowledge; it is an important insight and can help you to learn a lot about the things that you want in life. Pay attention to feelings of anxiety or tension connected with certain choices or tasks in your life. For instance, if you are questioning your career path, be aware of the way your current job makes you feel. Coming home at the end of the day feeling tired and anxious may be a sign that it is time for a change.

Take stock of all of the activities you do throughout the day. Make a list of the things you do that are important to you and the things that are not. What are the activities you do that make you feel good? Do you give yourself ample time for those? It is common for a person to fill her schedule with things he feels he has to do, rather than the things that add to his life. Work to concentrate on developing those things that make you feel good about yourself and invigorate your life.

Take time to contemplate and reflect on what you want, rather than struggling to fill all the moments of the day. By giving yourself some time to reflect, your next step may become obvious. Try also to let go of stringent goals and absolutes. These types of rules can add stress and take enjoyment out of your life. Take time to appreciate your life and enjoy simple things. Sometimes letting go of rules can help to put things in perspective.

Tips & Warnings

  • Talk to someone about what you are going through. A good friend or someone who will offer support and encouragement can help you to feel less alone. Sometimes talking about a difficult decision can go a long way toward resolving it.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed by anxiety or having a difficult time focusing or sleeping, see a mental health professional. This person will be able to assess what is going on for you and may be able to recommend therapy or medication if needed.

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