Identity Within Identity Within
“Just be yourself” we are told on an almost daily basis by the media, TV shows, magazines books – even friends and family. It's... Identity Within

“Just be yourself” we are told on an almost daily basis by the media, TV shows, magazines books – even friends and family.

It’s potentially good advise. But what if you do not feel strong enough to be ourselves or don’t know who we are?

The first step to finding yourself and being able to be who you want to be is finding “inner strength” – mental and emotional strength. Building this will help you find your identity and the confidence you need.

1. Make a list of things you like about yourself.

Finding your identity is a lot easier if you like yourself. Take out a few hours on a day off and sit yourself down with a pen and some paper. Take your time to really think about all the good things about yourself. Your qualities, your talents, even your favourite body part. Take that list and place it underneath your pillow or on your night-stand. Read it through every day when you wake up or go to sleep to remind you of all the good things about you.

2. Assess your friends.

This might sound cruel, but it is a fact: we often hang out with “friends” that make us feel bad about ourselves. That “joke” at your expense that is said to be “in jest” or “just a bit of friendly banter” can sting deeply and fester at the back of your mind for a long time. Think about the people in your life: Who makes you feel good? Who makes you feel low? It is sad, but if a person keeps making you feel bad, maybe it is time to let them go.

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3. What do YOU like?

We often barely notice it but in our lives we often change things about ourselves to please others. Who in their lives did not keep quiet about actually liking that show/song/book when someone they liked criticised it. Who didn’t try to like something for the person they loved of to fit in a group? Imagine trying so hard to fit in you can’t even remember where the pretence ends and you begin?
Some people do and it stops them from developing their own sense of self. Try and remember who you are: look at early pictures of yourself and remember what you wanted to do, what you liked. What is you and what is pretend?

4. Relax

Are you always in a rush running from this to that? Try and take some time for yourself. Don’t go out but have a nice evening at home to cocoon. No matter what age you are, everyone needs a pyjama and slippers night on the couch once in a while to recover from social pressures. We get so much thrown at us these days that the brain needs time to recharge. Try to fit these evenings in at least once or twice a month.

5. Internet stop

Staying on internet to long can be detrimental to self development: you lose track of time and get lost in cyberspace, stopping you from doing what you planned. Try to take a time out from this and focus on what you want to achieve.

6. Build your emotions.

You are allowed to feel and be emotional, have a good cry once in a while when you need it. You are allowed to say “I don’t like this” to your friend, partner, family member. You also have the right to walk away from a situation when uncomfortable. You have the right to seek help when feeling stressed, overwhelmed and unwell.

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You have the right to be you, become you and whoever YOU want to be!!

Dannii Cohen

Dannii Cohen

Dannii Cohen is a psychologist, counsellor and author specialised in LGBT issues.