What To Do When You Don’t Know Who You Are Meant To Be
Children are often asked what they want to be when they grow up. Most everyone goes through a phase where they respond by saying a veterinarian, the President or an astronaut. While these are endearing answers from a six-year-old, the career choice typically does not come to fruition. The pressure to declare a life intention reappears during senior year of high school and then kicks into overdrive at college. Even if you have decided on trade school, picked a post-secondary major or started working full-time, that does not mean you have a clear definition of who you are beyond a job title. So, the question remains, what do you do when you don’t know who you are meant to be? Here are a few helpful suggestions to guide you to self-discovery.
Identify the Problem
There are multiple reasons why a person can feel lost. Society can send mixed signals about what it deems the proper behavior for different demographics. For instance, it is not uncommon to feel as if you should be married by a certain age, but you also get the sense that you have to buy a house or start investing first. All of this outside input can lead to an identity crisis. At the same time, internal confusion can also cause a person to think their future is uncertain. Perhaps you have met others’ expectations, but the satisfaction of success is still waning. Before you can sort through the confusion, it is vital to identify its source.
Determine Positive and Negative Influences
Start the journey to a better place by examining what is good in your life and what you can let go of. Be realistic. It is possible to think something is beneficial when it actually has a more detrimental impact on your well-being. Dysfunctional relationships or unhealthy eating habits can both fall into this category. Once you have a clearer picture of what is lifting you up, try bringing more of that into your day-to-day. If you feel good when you go for a walk, set aside an hour outside as often as possible. Likewise, knowing what drags you down is just as valuable because you may need to work hard to cut it out. Do not be deterred by this critical process, no matter how hard it is to complete.
Make a List of What You Enjoy
It is easy to chase the wrong ambitions because there are so many variables in personal development. Change is inevitable, so as you are introduced to new activities that feel natural, file them in your mind as small pieces of who you are. For example, if you are drawn to creative recipes and meals, then accept that you have foodie tendencies even if you are not a gourmet cook. The more you can gather together what you cherish, the closer you may come to seeing someone you can embrace in the mirror.
Recognize the Difference Between Obligations and Choices
The word no can be one of the hardest to spit out despite having only two letters. The danger of agreeing to what everyone else needs is losing sight of what you need. However, when you find the strength to turn down the requests that bombard you, you may find a bit of yourself in the wake. Imagine the freedom of spending the day at your favorite museum instead of mowing your neighbor’s lawn. Take the guilt out of the equation by reaffirming your value, especially if you have said yes in the past. You are not being selfish when you prioritize; you are being effective.
Make a Plan to Move Forward
As you become more comfortable with taking ownership of your journey, you can start to lay the foundation for the next step. Maybe it is time to earn a new degree by signing up for online classes. On the other hand, if you have shied away from taking on more work responsibilities, it might be the perfect chance to accept a leadership position and find a purpose there.
Not every obstacle has to be confronted alone. If you have tried to sort through the distractions, it might be necessary to consult a professional. A career counselor or life coach might be able to provide you with a new perspective. Do not be afraid to ask for help.