By Erik Wagner
Identity is an interesting thing. Struggling to find our identities can be difficult. In fact, it can be completely miserable and utterly confusing. How do we find our identities? But before we discuss this, we must define what identity is in the first place.
The dictionary defines identity as “the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another.” Simple enough, yes?
Yet, isn’t being oneself one of the simplest tasks conceivable? Easier than breathing, it sounds. How could you be anyone else after all? Unfortunately, some, including myself, struggle to be ourselves.
I personally find it very difficult to express myself in certain situations. It takes me a long time to get comfortable in a new environment with new people. Until I do feel comfortable, life is tough. I’m awkward. I stay away from people mostly. I don’t talk much. I don’t really want to do much of anything except be awkward and pretend to be sleeping so people don’t talk to me.
But I’m really not like that at all. When I’m with friends I know well, I’m … myself. Being sociable just comes naturally. I don’t have to force words out.
So why do I and others have problems like this? Personality? I don’t know.
But what I do know is how to overcome them. You just have to be confident until you’re ready to be yourself.
Whatever issue you have, just have faith that you’ll vanquish it. Give it time. Eventually, you’ll forget you even had a problem in the first place. If you lose hope of getting over that fear of public speaking, or that discomfort you feel around your uncle’s dog, you lose the game.
Seek to resolve your problems. If you don’t, they will just sink in and never go away. You’ll forget about fixing them, and you’ll just sit with them, miserable all the way. Keep struggling. It’s worth it in the end.
Still, though, how can you grasp identity? It changes for everyone. I can’t really give this advice to every person in the world. Some people might be fine living with their problems, for all I know. There are simply too many people to give the same advice to all.
However, I shall contradict what I just said and say this: Find what works for you. I have no idea in what way a person might be facing problems being themselves, and I have no way to find out. Therefore, ultimately, you must help yourself. As long as you’re doing what works for you and are happy, well, why not? Who’s there to stop you? Not me.
You might find you feel like your identity is that of a samurai fighting ninja pirates. Go for it. Don’t mind what the world tells you. In the end, how you see, feel, and live in general is the world as you know it. What you decide to do based on that and your way of thinking is your identity. Don’t let barriers hinder you from this. To repeat words of wisdom I have heard from many, many people: Just do it. ♦
Editor’s note: The ideas here do not necessarily represent Northwest Asian Weekly’s stance.