If someone were to ask you the question, “Who are you?” How would you answer? Are you just a student, a parent or an employee? Your values, ethnic background, gender, sexuality, career, goals and more define who you are: they create your personal identity!
What’s the big deal about reflecting on your personal identity?
According to Healthline, “Self-knowledge makes it easier to accept your entire self, both the traits you’re proud of and those you’d like to improve. If you do feel dissatisfied with certain aspects of yourself, you’ll have an easier time addressing those areas when you have a strong sense of your nature and abilities.”
The Value of Your Values
If you have a strong sense of self, you can use your values and personality as an identity to help guide you through difficult decisions and challenges. To start establishing your personal identity, ask yourself about your values.
According to MindTools, “Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work.”
Use a journal to write down some of your most important values. Some examples of values are loyalty, reliability, honesty, integrity and kindness. If a particular value is important in your life, read about some ways to express those values in your daily life. For example, if generosity is a core value in your life, you could make a monthly effort to volunteer or donate to a cause meaningful to you.
Play to Your Strengths
Another great way to establish a personal identity is to reflect on your personal strengths. Next to your values, write a list of your strengths.
Don’t limit this list to just your personality traits. If you are struggling to think of strengths, reflect on times that you felt empowered and write about what empowered you.
Try to think of ways to incorporate your strengths into expanding on your values. How can you use these strengths to embody your values in real life? For example, if gratitude is a core value for you, and you are a strong communicator, you could talk to your friends and family or write to them about how grateful you are for their friendship and love.
Some social identity factors could be your family name, nationality or ethnicity. Thinking about how these things have had an impact on who you are today will help you understand more about yourself.
Furthermore, present yourself in a way that makes you feel good about yourself. According to Verywell Mind, “the term self-esteem is used to describe a person’s overall subjective sense of personal worth or value.”
Building strong self-esteem is important for cultivating a personal identity because you will feel more connected to your strengths and able to work on your weaknesses.
Ultimately, personal identity is personal! These are just suggestions, so reflect on how you want to identify. Tweet @VALLEYmag your favorite reflection question!