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Who Am I? Searching for Self

Monday, March 15th, 2021

by Ian Stromberg


“Is this the life I’m supposed to live?”

After some decades of being on this planet, have you found yourself questioning who you are or what your identity is? Instead, your fallback on describing yourself is to answer what you do for a living, what you did before retirement, or what you’re studying. You default to describing yourself as a human doing rather than articulate who you are as a human being.

Whether you are in your early twenties and searching for who you are and where you’re going, or in your forties and questioning what you have become and how you ended up here, this uncomfortable feeling is not unusual from time to time. However, you might want to take some time to consider a few things.  Do you:

  • find that you’re living a life that you believe others want you to live – We often inherit our purpose from others. It could be working in a career that others suggest or even dating/marrying someone you think others will approve of.
  • often model what others do for activities, wear, eat, or drive even when you have different tastes or preferences – Being influenced by societal trends and culture is not unusual! But, if you’re finding that you yield more than participate in making decisions for yourself, you might want to explore what’s behind that.
  • feel disconnected from yourself, almost as if you are wondering who this other person you are observing is – When you don’t have a sense of identity because others have influenced you for so long, your sense of self can get “pushed” away over time.

This chase for self or purpose is hampered if you are a trauma survivor, suffering from mental illness, or are working through a significant life event like job loss, marriage, or becoming an empty nester. This feeling of being lost can lead to depression and anxiety which further clouds your hidden self.

If you are struggling with your identity and purpose, or feel directionless, talking to someone can help. It can often be a matter of reflecting on your earlier life experiences and how they may have influenced an inherited purpose rather than one that is your own. It may be time to invest in a journey of therapy.  A good therapist can help you sort through what may be holding you back from a purposeful and thriving life.

At River Counseling Services and Sioux Falls Psychological Services we meet you where you are, offering hope.  We can help you discover a healthier version of you.  You may schedule an appointment with the Platte office at 605-337-3444, or meet with one of our Sioux Falls Psychological Services therapists from your own computer or smartphone.  To schedule an appointment please call 605-334-2696.