In addition to perfectionism, identity is at the core of why we pretend. We get confused when we don't really know "who we are." Some people put on a front because they don't know what it feels like to be real. This is not a topic just for the younger generation (because a mother is likely to need an "I know who I am" adjustment when all her kids leave the house). At every age we need to understand 4 elements that impact our confidence.
The biggest misunderstanding about identity: "We either have it or we don't." Wrong. "Some people know who they are while others are stuck." Wrong again. Confidence is not an event it is a choice. We don't find ourselves, we create ourselves. We are all going to feel a little lost at points throughout our lives.
1.Choice: What do you want to be?
We don't magically find ourselves, we create ourselves. We don't wake up one day and get it all at once and then keep that all-at-once mindset our entire life. Rather, we create ourselves through choices and being accountable for those choices. We fear making a wrong choice, we fear failure, and we fear rejection so we often try to remain neutral. We pretend instead of take a risk. We are fake because sometimes it hurts to be real. Don't pretend--choose.
2.Heritage: Where do you come?
No matter if you are proud of your ancestry or if you have a past full of hurt, heritage is the root of our identity and it impacts our decisions. This can include how you were raised, your religious belief, choices your grandparents made, where you've lived. Exp: I am Margie Christensen's granddaughter. I went to high school in Louisiana...
Performance traits: What do you do?
What is your role? These change the most frequently and can cause us to wonder who we are at every stage in life. I am a mother, I am a friend, I play soccer, I am a teacher…
Personality traits: Who are you?
I am good with numbers, I am awesome, I am kind, I like to laugh…
Personality traits can usually be the most difficult to see.
Physical traits: What do you look like?
I have brown hair and brown eyes…
"Traits" is the category with the most change, misunderstandings, and mistakes.
What do you believe in? We can't stand up for something if we don't know what we value.
I believe in kindness, and integrity. When people begin to gossip or ask me personal details about another person's life, I know how to respond. I speak about other people as if they were present.
I believe in sincerity and the worth of a soul. To the best of my ability I don't give in to, or create, emotional manipulation (drama) or high emotion conflict (more drama). These are behaviors that degrade people and are not in line with the belief I have in self-worth.
I believe in health and importance of my body so I exercise and think about what I put into my body. (I also believe ice cream tastes good so in line with my values I enjoy ice cream)
The best kept secret about identity: Most people don't know that elements of your identity will change yet we still have control over what we become.
The biggest identity mistake we make: To use only exclusive traits to define who we are. We can neglect other important features or over emphasize one trait. For example, if are known for our long hair or flawless complexion, what happens if we get our hair cut or start to age? If we played basketball throughout high school, what happens when we get an injury and can't play anymore? If we spend years focusing on the demands of motherhood, a time will come when the kids won't need us quite the same anymore.
For a printable "I Know Who I am" worksheet visit www.kareneddington.com and start answering the questions for your-self.