Finding Your Identity as an Emerging Adult
Finding your unique identity and who you are as a person is a lifelong discovery. You are always evolving into who you are supposed to be.
But where do you start? How do you begin finding who you are as you leave your parents’ homes and enter adulthood?
Here are some tips to help you get started down the path of self-discovery and step into your full self as an adult:
A big word for finding out where you begin and your family and loved ones end. Do you truly believe in the things you were taught as a child, or do you have questions? Are you emotionally and physically interconnected, or have you found ways to assert your independence? Wondering how you align with others and what makes you unique is a perfectly normal experience as you enter adulthood.
To practice differentiating, try the following:
• Be more assertive in your independence. This might mean you do individual chores like laundry, cooking meals or even pumping your own gas.
• Be emotionally open. Sharing feelings can be hard, especially with parents, but the more open you are the opportunity for a shift in the relationship and a closeness can form.
• Go on your own fact-finding mission. It’s ok if you question things about life and form your own opinions!
Setting boundaries can be a freeing but sometimes difficult experience. The harder the line is drawn; the more people might want to push back. The truth is boundaries are an important part of life and relationships can suffer without them.
Try the following:
• Set boundaries with yourself first. Maybe you need to go to bed earlier, eat healthier, work out more or watch less TV. Setting boundaries first with yourself might make it easier to set firmer boundaries in the future with yourself, and others.
• Start with simple things. It can be so easy to go along with the group or say ‘yes’ to something before even thinking. Don’t be afraid to start speaking up about what movie to see or what restaurant to try. You might even need to say ‘no’ even if it means rocking the boat.
• Set harder lines with those who need it. We all have those in our lives who like to push boundaries or might act selfishly. It’s ok to be firm and push back when a boundary of yours is being crossed.
#3: Be open to new things
Seems simple and yet it can be so very difficult. Stepping out of our comfort zones is one of the most challenging things we must do as we emerge into adulthood.
• Do something you’ve always been curious about. We all have at least one thing we wonder about but have never tried. Maybe it’s because we don’t want to try it alone or it might be we just aren’t sure how to get started. Now is the time!
• Say yes. I know we just talked about saying no. But saying yes can hold just as much power as saying no! Fear can hold us back. I wonder how empowering it would feel to say yes in the face of fear and see what new adventures await!
• Put yourself out there. That might mean you are the one making the plans and inviting people to events. It might mean you are introducing yourself first. Taking the first step can be powerful.
Therapy can be pivotal in working through emerging adulthood and Concord Family Counseling can help. We have experience in helping individuals discover who they are through these first 3 steps and more. We can walk with clients as they differentiate themselves to become more individualized and independent. We have helped clients set those difficult boundaries as they learn to protect themselves in the way they see fit. And we have challenged our clients to put themselves out there in new and creative ways.