I Don’t Know Who I Am Anymore

Updated April 3, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

It is not uncommon for a person to feel lost in this world at times. As we grow and develop, from children to adolescents into adulthood, we learn what we need and value. We learn that as individuals, we each have our own identities, our own passions, and our own needs. If we grow up in a healthy environment, we likely have the tools to cope with hardships and difficulties. However, if we grow up in an abusive environment, be it emotional, physical, or sexual, we may not learn the coping skills needed to guide us through challenges in adulthood. If we're dealing with a mental health disorder, this can also interrupt our ability to cope.

Sometimes, as adults, life gets hard. If we do not have the necessary skills in our coping toolbox, it may be challenging to overcome defeat, obstacles, and indecisiveness. While standing in one place frozen with fear is not healthy or productive, no action is sometimes just as bad a reaction. In life, we need to keep moving forward and not get into a rut of actionless outcomes.

Get to know yourself

Therapy can help you discover more about yourself

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in trying just to keep moving ahead that we forget where we are heading in the first place. One day we stop and look around only to find ourselves asking, “How did I get here?” and “Who have I become?”

These questions are quite a common occurrence with a stay-at-home parent, for example; they find themselves losing touch with who they used to be and strived to become. Other times, when every day looks that same, we start to question who we are and why we stopped heading down that path to our original goals.

The same can be true for those who have been in the workforce for many years, perhaps in the same position. We may feel at times that we are trapped in a job that we do not love—or even like—and that we are not working to our greatest potential. However, finding a way out is not always easy.

Each of these is examples of why we might find ourselves thinking, “I don’t know who I am anymore.” When you get this feeling of being lost, you may need to deeply explore how you got where you are and how you can change directions to one that is a healthier path in life. You may need to get to know yourself again and determine what you can do differently to get on a better track.

Adults who do not have a healthy sense of self may start to rely on the opinions, feelings, and thoughts of others. They stop thinking for themselves because they do not know what they want. These people may follow their friend’s fashion style, buy a vehicle that is a popular choice, or participate in activities that they do not particularly enjoy. These folks stop making decisions for themselves and let others make decisions for them.

In time, these patterns will leave a person depressed or anxious if they should need to make a decision on their own. As time goes on, they could feel helpless, hopeless, and less connected to themselves than ever before.

I love my family, but I do not feel fulfilled

It is not uncommon to feel torn between family life and the life you want to have deep down inside. When you get this feeling that you do not know who you are anymore, you may need to find a way to weave the things that you are passionate about around your family life. There is no reason you cannot have both.

One way you can do this is to ask your family if they can give you one day or night a week to focus on yourself. Maybe you go to a ceramics class and get back in tune with your artistic life. Perhaps you take a college class and work towards finishing the college degree you started years before. If it’s photography that you crave, get out of the house for a couple of hours a week and photograph nature—or whatever you enjoy snapping pictures of. This may help to re-center and ground you.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you are doing it for you and you only. This time should be dedicated to what you love and are passionate about.

Mental health is an essential aspect of self-care. If you can take the time to focus more on self-care, you will feel happier and perhaps will not still be thinking, “I don’t know who I am anymore.”

My friends and family do not understand me anymore

People change as they age. There may come a time in your life when your friends and family do not seem to understand you anymore. These issues can arise from a change in your desires in life or an inner struggle to find yourself. Either way, you need to address the issue at hand.

Utilizing a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist can help you sort through the feelings of not knowing who you are and find a path to a healthier you. These professionals will help you to take time for self-care and work on helping you engage with your loved ones as an active member of the family.

People who struggle to make their mark on the world may feel that their friends and families do not understand them anymore. In reality, many times it is not their friends and families that do not understand them; it is a lack of understanding of one’s self.

What else can I do to help find myself?

The following tips can help you to develop a better sense of who you are, what you want, and increase your self-awareness:

Learn to understand yourself

Make a list of five to seven things that are your favorite. This may include your favorite color, food, flower, ice cream flavor, movie, book, etc.

Each week make a new list of your favorite items with a goal to add more things to your list. You might add a favorite childhood board game, hobbies, political views, states you have enjoyed visiting, and other things that interest you most.

In time, you will have a comprehensive list of things that you enjoy, and you will begin to recognize who you are as a person.

Listen to your mind and your body

It is essential to be in touch with your feelings and understand physical cues; this will help you to develop an awareness of your likes and dislikes and what your mind and body need.

Your mind and body can tell you a great deal about your thoughts and interests. As you start to get out and do things for yourself, notice how you feel during different activities. Do sporting events make you feel happy or tense? Do you prefer movies that make you laugh or cry the most?

If you pay attention to your feelings and reactions, you will start to develop a deeper connection with your mind and body.

Develop decision-making skills

If you let others dictate your life’s course, you will lose your ability to make decisions for yourself in time. Making decisions is a skill that is built up over time. Like a muscle, your decision-making behavior needs to be flexed and developed to stay strong and fit.

If you get anxious at the thought of making a decision, start slow. Make suggestions about where your family should go to dinner. Discuss with your partner what you would like the bathroom you're remodeling  to look like. When grocery shopping, pick out one or two food items that are your personal favorites, rather than everyone else’s. If your best friend asks you if you want to go to the movies, pick which showtime that you would prefer to attend.

While these simple choices are everyday occurrences for many people, some people get so trapped in appeasing others that they forget to include what they want as a viable option. In time, you lose complete touch with yourself and your decision-making abilities. You have a voice, even if you haven’t used it in a while. Don’t be afraid to be heard and express yourself.

Take charge

Therapy can help you discover more about yourself

As you start to develop a sense of your interests and get used to making small decisions, the next step is to start planning activities that will engage your senses and personal preferences. Call a friend and invite them out for a fun activity, form a company bowling league, or write on the calendar that you will take a walk every day at 9 a.m.

The idea is to have fun in life, enjoy the things you love to do, and not lose touch with who you are deep down inside. No one should go through life feeling disconnected from oneself or not knowing who they are anymore. It is a bright and lively world outside. Get out there and live it.

Explore identity in online therapy

It can be difficult to lose sight of who you are. There are many things you can do to tune back in to yourself, including making time for things you enjoy doing and participating in some self-care.

Another option is to visit Regain. Regain is an online therapy platform with connections to many different licensed therapists. Discuss your challenges with a therapist at a time and place convenient for you. You only need access to an electronic device and the internet to get some support.

Online therapy has been shown to be effective in helping people with many different types of mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety. These are disorders that can certainly keep someone from feeling like themselves. Online cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is just as effective as in-person CBT in helping convert negative thoughts into more positive ones.

You don't have to figure everything out for yourself. There's no reason not to lean on family, friends, or a therapist to help you get back to you.

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“My experience with Priscilla has been immensely helpful in better understanding myself and providing me with the tools to see my life and relationships with more clarity and compassion.”

“Lakesha was absolutely amazing! She helped me find myself and realize my self-worth in such a short period! I highly recommend her services; she is FRESH and has amazing insight!”

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