Why is it so important to know who we truly are? In today’s society we are bombarded with the many roles we have to play in our everyday lives. In the course of one day we may experience of a number of different aspects of our self such as mother, wife, employee, friend, daughter. However these roles do not define who we are as an individual. Behind each of the roles that we play is the real person, the inner self. Research suggests that having a strong sense of self is strongly linked to our emotional and mental health. Those with a strong sense of who they are, are more likely to feel in control and self-confident, having the ability to believe in themselves and deal effectively with emotions and challenges. Whereas those individuals with a low sense of self may experience self-doubt, a feeling of little control over their life and a feeling of being in turmoil.
The World Health Organisation state that key aspects of a persons quality of life are related to their experience of their interactions with the world around them and to their perception of themselves. With this in mind it can be argued that it is fundamental that we have a strong and positive sense of who we are as an individual.
I think it can be easy to become caught up in the rush of the world around us. We become immersed in our career, our roles at home and use these to define our position within the world. However I think that in order to be truly happy we need to look deeper than these superficial statuses. We may be a fantastic mother, but that is not wholly who we are. When we are not with our children we are many other aspects of ourselves. We are the person that our partner fell in love with, a person with our own ideas, likes, dislikes, morals, hopes and dreams. In order to be happy, I think that you need to regularly reassess whether your own needs are being met.
Attaining a strong sense of who I am is something I am still working on and I believe it is not easy for some people to achieve this state, especially for those of us who are focused on meeting the needs of others before our own. It is easy to lose sight of our own needs and desires when the world is dictating that we need to have that presentation ready for the meeting at work tomorrow, or our child needs their uniform ironed ready for school in the morning. We have a strong sense of responsibility towards other in our lives and caring for their needs, and while this is a good trait to have, it should not be to the detriment of our own requirements as individuals. We cannot fully care for others until our own needs are met.
So as often as you can, take some space, sit quietly, or write in a journal. Assess your own hopes and dreams. Where do you want to be in three years time? How would your ideal life look? What is important to you that you are lacking in your life at present? It is only when we address these issues and are therefore able to have our own needs met, that are we able to experience life with confidence. As once we know with certainty who we are and where we are headed, we have the insight to recognise that we, as an individual have the strength and ability to tackle life’s challenges head on.