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Discovering Identity

today4 September 2022 43 3

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Discovering your identity is a complex thing and a lifelong journey. Being a teenager and a youth is tough business. You are somewhere in the middle of being a child and sort-of-but-not-really being an adult. There are all kinds of pressures that influence your being, mainly from school; your peers and for reasons, we are all confused about the things spewed from the [social] media. These things may not define you, but they do contribute to who you are.

Still, what is your identity? The Meriam-Webster dictionary defines it as:

The distinguishing character or personality of an individual.

The Engine of your ID

Think of your identity as a car. God is the engine. The gearbox is your faith. The steel body is your identity, and the rest of the car parts are the characteristics and attributes that express your identity through your personality. The cool thing about your Identity is that in its essence it stays the same but through experiences and influences like how you were brought up, your beliefs, culture, the neighbourhood(s) you grow up in, recreational activities you participate in, your family and friends; it can change in small and big ways.

You get to decide what colour the car should be, which seats you want, which sound system you want, and which tires you want. This is how your identity is expressed through your personality. Your personality can be expressed in many different ways that form part of making you unique.

Read: Circumstances don’t have to determine your identity

The journey of your ID

Honestly, identity is complex because there are a number of eccentricities that make you, you. This is true for the introvert, extrovert ambivert and any other personality type I might have missed. The impact of the stuff you go through and what you allow to influence your thinking and actions form part of your life journey. You and I are flawed, and we make mistakes. It will be like this for as long as we live. We were made by God on purpose and His very breath lives in us – just like the air we breathe but cannot see. He is an all-knowing God who has set roads of different terrains in front of us to travel on a redemptive journey with His Son, Jesus.

Defining yourself as worthy

Second, to God, you define you. You can write positive affirmations about who you believe you are and speak these to yourself. You can also create a vision board with everything you want to become and pair this with a journal where you can write about your life and journey. These are good for helping your mind to refocus on the good things that define you especially when you are going through tough times.

This might seem tough for you to understand but it is your job to remind yourself that you are worthy, loved and valued. You don’t always have to do this alone. One other good thing you can do for yourself is to contact our Youth Hotline for support.

Just as a car needs regular service to be maintained and run well because it drives through all kinds of weather and on all kinds of terrains, your Identity needs to be nourished so it can flourish as you do this life thing. You can start participating in some of the activities I have listed below which can have a positive influence on your life.

Things that can help shape identity

  • Join a club that practices your favourite recreational activity like the choir, a sports team, or start a dance group or band
  • Serve in your community
  • Read the bible and sign up for daily devotionals
  • Listen to podcasts that resonate with you and some that challenge you to think differently
  • Join a good bible teaching church or cell group / bible study group
  • Do something you enjoy even if you are bad at it. There is no shame in wanting to learn e.g., how to play an instrument.
  • Get wise counsel. Our Youth Hotline is available to help offer you support when you are struggling with challenging emotions and need someone to confide in or chat with.
  • Pray. Pray feeling awkward, silly, mad, heart sore or happy. God cares about your feelings, and He loves hearing from you.

These are basic things you can do on a daily or weekly basis to encourage and strengthen you to live life as no one else but you.

Written by Dineo Phadimenyane.

Written by: Han

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