You’re lost. You’re ashamed to admit that you don’t know who you truly are. You have no idea what you want in life. In truth, you feel like a complete stranger to yourself.
Can you relate?
If so, don’t worry. There’s nothing wrong with you. What you’re experiencing is the product of living in a society that is constantly trying to tell you who THEY think you are. (And that’s freakin’ disorienting, demoralizing, and overwhelming.)
Put simply, not knowing who you authentically are can be ungrounding, confusing, and scary. You’ll be dragged here and there by life without remaining in the center of your being. You’ll enter one job, relationship, and life commitment after another, quickly realizing that they’re not meant for you.
… and you’ll repeat this confusing cycle over and over again until you learn how to find yourself.
Would you like to feel confident in who you are? Would you like to fully embrace your strengths, gifts, and destiny? Would you like to find the meaning of your life? Would you like to find relationships, friendships, and connections that truly nourish your soul (and don’t drain you)?
If so, it’s time to do some soul searching. It’s time to find yourself.
Why You’re Struggling to Find Yourself (It’s Multi-Layered)
There are a number of reasons why it’s so difficult to know who you really are. Some of the main explanations include:
You were raised in a dysfunctional family that devalued individuality and had strict family roles
You’ve developed low self-esteem as a result of negative life experiences – and the thoughts (or stories) in your head prevent you from seeing your true beauty/power
You’re being heavily influenced by the media including TV shows, movies, ads, YouTube channels, Instagram celebrities, etc. who make you think that you need to be someone you’re not (thus, demoralizing you even more)
You’re surrounded by people who reinforce in-authenticity, low self-esteem, and poor decision making – these people feed the cycle of your insecurity and confusion
Your daily habits, commitments, and life choices prevent you from taking the time to soul search and find who you truly are
Let’s explore these above points a little more in detail below:
1# You were raised in a dysfunctional family
Your childhood impacts your adult life and day-to-day existence tremendously. Your childhood years were your formation years: they created the foundation of the beliefs, behaviors, and values you carry right now.
Those raised in dysfunctional families tend to develop a weak sense of self because, as children, all their energy was invested externally. When a child must be hyper-vigilant (and protect itself against abandonment, abuse, etc.), they have no energy left to play, explore, and enjoy life. In other words, there’s no inner energy left, and thus, a child’s identity becomes frail and dependant on the external world for validation. Dysfunctional families often have strict roles in which no one is permitted to be an individual (this is called enmeshment) or grow and change. In fact, any deviation from what “I am supposed to be and do” is punished, and therefore, being an individual is equated with suffering.
It’s no wonder that so many people are terrified, deep down, of finding who they truly are! Not only were they prevented from being their true selves as children, not only did they have no true authentic role models, but they were actually punished for being genuine!
2# You’ve developed low self-esteem:
Either as a result of being raised in a dysfunctional family or through life circumstances, low self-esteem can also be why you struggle to learn how to to find yourself.
One step deeper than self-esteem is self-worth – or how fundamentally worthy as a human being you believe you are. If you’ve adopted the core wound that there’s something “wrong with you,” “you’re bad,” “you’re unlovable,” etc. it will be very difficult to find your true self. In short, on an unconscious level, you don’t believe you’re worthy of finding yourself!
Think of the mind as a mirror. The more gunk and dirt is smeared across the mirror (in this case, false beliefs and attitudes), the harder it will be to see clearly (in this case, yourself).
In order to see yourself clearly and learn how to find yourself, you’ll need to wipe that mirror clean. We’ll explore how to do this a little later in the article.
3# You’re being heavily influenced by the media
The media is omnipresent. Turn on your TV, it’s there. Go to the shops, it’s there. Read the online newspaper, it’s there. Scroll through Google, it’s there. Use your favorite shampoo, it’s there. When you notice what the overarching message sent by media is, you’ll see that it always centers around making you feel like you need more. More shiny hair, clearer skin, a slimmer body, nicer shoes, whiter teeth, smoother legs, better sex … more, more, more.
One level deeper than that is the idea that “you’re not good enough as you are.” It’s in the interest of companies, products, online personalities, publishers, etc. to make you unhappy with yourself, to throw a smokescreen over your eyes and cause you to forget who you are. It makes you chase a person who you think you must be, which in turn makes them a fat profit!
I’ll repeat that again: it’s in the interest of the media to make you forget who you are because it makes them money. It makes them powerful. It makes them important. And without your insecurity, they wouldn’t have that.
4# You’re surrounded by people who reinforce in-authenticity
As the saying goes, misery loves company. We attract those who “vibe” with us and who mirror (or affirm) what we feel about ourselves deep down. If you have low self-esteem, if you don’t know who you are, you will attract the same types of people. Why? Well, the ego loves to feel validated – even if that means a type of validation that is toxic and unhealthy.
When we are around people who are also confused about who they truly are, it’s comfortable; non-confrontational. But when we’re around a person who exudes a calm, grounded, centered presence, we’re intimidated. We feel vulnerable. We feel insecure because we haven’t found that within ourselves yet.
The people we’re around most of the time can make it damn hard for us to learn how to find ourselves. Furthermore, on some level, we know that if we do go on this soul searching adventure, we’ll likely lose our friendships. The structure of our lives will crumble. We’ll wind up feeling alone. (And that’s another reason preventing us from finding ourselves!)
5# Your daily habits, commitments, and life choices
Finally, the pièce de résistance that builds on all previous points is our habits. The material, the bulk of our lives can become cluttered very easily by soul-desecrating, empty, meaningless, and phony commitments. These life choices can quickly build into prison walls that keep us feeling stuck and entrapped. They reinforce our self-alienation and in-authenticity, and it can be very hard to liberate ourselves from them.