If they ask you who you are, you’ll probably say something like “I’m Maria, I’m 35 and I’m a lawyer.” However, identity goes much further; it is forged on the basis of the roles you fill, the people who accompany you, the environments you inhabit, your values and your activities. When you experience doubts about the above, or are forced to rethink them, you can face an identity crisis.
This crisis is not, in fact, any disorder or pathology, but a natural phase that every human being goes through sooner or later. However, it usually generates intense and negative emotions; and, if you don’t know how to deal with it, it can cause you great discomfort and harm. For this reason, we will tell you what it consists of and what you can do about it.
What does an identity crisis feel like?
It is common for you to find it difficult to identify that you are suffering from an identity crisis. Frequently, you know you’re sick, but you don’t understand the origin of this suffering or how to get out of it. Therefore, these are the signs that may indicate that you are going through this process:
- you feel alone and lostdisoriented, confused and aimless.
- You experience a great emptiness and you tend to ask yourself existential questions. “Who am I?”, “Why is this happening to me?”, “What is the purpose of life?”, “How do I move forward?”… These are some examples of the thoughts that might cross your mind.
- You feel indecisive, stuck and unable to make decisions. The uncertainty and fear are strong and you seem to lack the confidence to face the changes that come your way.
- You notice a certain strangeness in yourself and in the world. You are unclear about your values, priorities or goals and it can be difficult for you to connect with the people around you.
- This emotional discomfort and these questions take up all your mental space and you may find it difficult to cope with your daily life, with your obligations and activities. Now take the time to introspect.
Why does the identity crisis occur?
It is possible to experience various identity crises throughout life, as these sand are linked to cycle changes and vital moments of transition. They appear when your identity (as established) is threatened and you are forced to reconsider. Therefore, the following are some of the situations that most frequently trigger this phenomenon.
The transition to adolescence
This is one of the most common identity crises and one that occurs in most people. The transition from childhood to adolescence involves great challenges and transformations at an age where solid personal resources are not yet available.
In this stage, young people detach themselves relatively from their parents to find their place in the peer group. However, they are still unclear who they are or who they want to be, what their views or goals are, or how to handle this new role. For this, the support of parents can be very necessary.
Other significant moments in life
Similar phenomena can occur later in life. For example, It’s normal for people in their thirties to feel lost and disoriented: their studies have finished, but, perhaps, they have not yet managed to establish themselves in the job market or to stabilize a relationship (objectives towards which society presses insistently).
retirement and the aging they also often trigger major life crises. Especially those who have built their identity around their work may feel they are losing their essence, their status and the meaning of their life, and remain empty and confused for a while until they can adjust.
drastic and unexpected changes
Generally, any change in the roles you play It can trigger an identity crisis. This happens to a greater extent if it comes to negative events such as a divorce, a layoff, a health problem or the death of a loved one; but it can also occur before positive changes such as a move, motherhood or starting a new job.
Lack of self awareness
Those people who live more disconnected from themselves are more likely to experience an identity crisis. If you go on autopilot, without listening to yourself, without giving yourself moments of reflectionwithout strengthening your relationship with yourself, you will be more susceptible to any change, dilemma, or unexpected event that throws you off balance and off-center.
How to deal with an identity crisis?
Identity crises can last for months or even years, and be more or less intense depending on how they are handled. Professional accompaniment is always positive, as it gives you tools for self-awareness and emotional management. However, there are also some steps you can take yourself:
- Stay calm and remember this won’t be forever. When faced with the intensity of negative emotions, you can go into despair and feel like you’ll never be okay again. However, it is important to remember that it is only a stage and that it is preferable to take it and live it calmly.
- Look, but don’t get carried away with emotion. In these moments, trying to hide or avoid the discomfort will only increase it. For this, allow yourself to feel fear, sadness, emptiness, or despair. Express it, seek out social support, and let those emotions flow. This is the way not to get hooked on them and thus intensify them.
- rooted and reconnect through the simplest. Now that there is chaos in your mind and that uncertainty invades you, seek the certainty and simplicity of the more everyday. Clean your house, go out into nature, exercise, enjoy a good book or the company of loved ones. These small actions will help you get back to your center.
- Find the opportunity in the crisis. Remember that despite the discomfort, this is the perfect time to start listening to yourself, redefine yourself and set new goals.
Ask for help if you need it
Not all identity crises are the same and at certain times they can interest you more or become more complicated to manage. Because of this, You should not hesitate to ask for help, both from your close people and from qualified professionals. Psychotherapy can help you deal with what you are feeling and prevent it from leading to serious health problems; so, remember that you won’t be able to handle it all by yourself.
The post What is an identity crisis and how to deal with it? first appeared on research-school