Dealing with your identity crisis
At least once in your life you might experience it: an identity crisis. From personal experience, during my bachelor of Industrial Design I doubted a lot about what I was doing and where I was going. The questions I was asked to answer confused me, rather than directed me. And I bet that I was not the only one. But there are things that can help with finding the answers.
As a designer, it is asked what you are standing for and where you see yourself in the future. A rather hard question to even grasp, so how should we even be able to answer it? And the feeling that you should know everything in detail, is devastating. I could relate it to the feeling when I was almost turning 20. Seeing other, young, people blooming at the same age as I was about to be was a rather weird thing. I wás living on my own and I wás studying. But still, it felt like I had accomplished nothing in my life. The question about having an identity evoked the same kind of feeling. Who am I? What am I doing? And where am I even going?
The origin of an identity crisis
It is not a bad or a weird thing to doubt what you are currently doing. And the feeling of stress occurs because you have the feeling that society demands you to know what you want to do. And the thing is, we might never know it. This probably gives you more stress than you already had or it eases your thoughts. And that feeling of pressure might be the origin of the crisis you feel you have. Or is it something that you want yourself? Knowing the exact path that you will go through in your life is something that is hard to do. Because who knows what tomorrow will bring?
How to deal?
Just like you do in your life (from baby to teenager, etc.), your identity will grow. And a good way to grow mentally is to explore and do. Not knowing what your passions might be? Figure it out by trying different things and hobbies. A good test to find your purpose and combining that with your passion is answering the following questions:
What did you always like doing (as a child)?
What are your core values?
What are your talents?
If this one is a bit hard to answer yourself, don’t hesitate to ask others what they think that you are good at.
What would you like to change?
Of course, it is not a bad thing if your purpose is not complete yet, or if it changes over time. Throughout our lives we learn new things and gain new insights, this is also how my vision and purpose become clearer each time. And might all help you in (re-)defining your purpose, vision, and identity. But an important question to ask yourself is ‘why?’. And keep asking yourself this upon the answers you give. Why do you think sustainability is important? Why? Why? Why? Why? This will help you get to the core, knowing what bothers you for example.
Following your identity path
You have come so far already, and you will continue doing so. Even when you do not feel like it. Each path is individual and therefore it is not weird that one blooms later than others. The only important thing is that you respect that. And if you really want something to change (because you do not feel happy, satisfied, etc), you need to work for it. Work for what you want and do not expect others to bring it to you. Do you feel like you deserve more appreciation for the things you do, but no one is seeing it? Then you need to work for the visibility of your work.
An example of my own here is that I never wanted to show off my good work. Even though the reactions were positive when presenting it to a small group. But they didn’t make my decisions, they didn’t bring me contacts, or anything else. I had to ask for it, or I had to make my work more public than just a single presentation. Another example is the publication of a paper. Sometimes coaches at university highlight those possibilities. But if I made the decision not to work for it, the paper would never be published.
You should analyze the things you do and wake up from your dream to actually live it. This non-dualistic view upon yourself might help you in finding who you are, where you desire to go, and what you need to do to get there. And it won’t happen in just one day, believe me. It takes time and effort to work towards your dreams. But a down-to-earth analytic view upon it might help you a bit further.
There is even a podcast made about brand identity! Listen to it here! (LINK TO https://unid-magazine.nl/immanuel-vivi-tula-bureau-rust/)
text Yvonne Bruin
visuals Emma Eisma