Why don't I know who I am?

Let's start this journey as simple as possible.
When people say they do not know who they are,they expect difficult conversations about the Soul,or God,or the Afterlife.
But let's start right here.
Do you like Pizza?
If you do like Pizza,then you are someone who likes Pizza.
That is part of your identity.
If you do not like Pizza,then you are someone who doesn't like Pizza.
In both cases,you have learned something about yourself.
You will say:yeah,great.
But is that my whole identity?
No,of course not.
But if we would go on for weeks and weeks and weeks,and if you would think about and answer al these questions,then we would come closer and closer to your identity.
What is your favorite colour?What is your favorite music?
Would you like to live in town,or in a rural area?
What job would you like?What is important in your life?
Just take the time to get to know yourself,like you get to know a friend.
Ask questions to yourself.
Pay attention to your body.
Do you eat,because it is time,or because you are hungry?
Do you go to bed,because it's late,or because you are tired?
Can you enjoy things?
What makes you happy?What makes you sad?
How did people treat you?Were you happ.when you were a child?
What do you want in your life ?

Take the time to think. To get to know yourself and take care of yourself.
I hope somebody close to you van help you.
I wish you strength and wisdom!
Robert 't Hoen.
The NEtherlands.

The essence of who you are is:

  • What you like; certain foods, certain animals or no animals at all, certain artists, decoration, culture etc. etc.
  • What you like to do; concerts, hiking, meditating, watching YouTube etc. etc.
  • What you'd like to reach in your life: start a family, get a certain job, kids or no, being close to family or no, traveling the world or no, get rich etc. etc.

That's one side of the spectrum, the other side is what you don't like, what you're resisting against

  • What you don't like; certain foods, certain animals or no animals at all, certain artists, decoration, culture etc. etc.
  • What you don't like to do; cycling in the rain, running, going to the dentist
  • What you want to avoid in life; getting sick, going to a traditional Dutch music festival

After you've defined the essence of who you are (which can and should change over the years) you can determine how far you're willing to go to:

  • reach what you want
  • to avoid what you don't want

This would be called your boundaries.

When experiencing a prolonged period of time of not knowing who you are there is probably a disturbance in what you like or don't like. A change has occurred and now you feel something lacking. A thing you liked or disliked was moved or dropped from your framework and now the framework doesn't feel complete anymore.

Recovering from trauma can conjure up these feelings as well. Again because everything is changing in such an intense healing process.

You could also feel disconnected from life on earth. Something has had a deep impact on you which makes you not want to deal with the issue and therefore with yourself and therefore with life on earth. Yes, this is really deep.

You could write down and map out for yourself what you like, don't like and how far you're willing to go for that. If you discover why you don't have a strong sense of who you are, you can apply the most effective strategy to regain strength to be yourself again.

Please check out my website for free techniques that will help you do that: Consulting Vulnerability - Illkiller


Maybe you haven't paid attention ...

.. to what's gone into you and what people have taken from you.

Many people ask this foundational question of life and many times, people who do so are those who have been passively and dutifully doing what others, the times and their culture expects of them, instead of actually   working at and creating an identity all their own.

The fact that you raise the question shows that the answer matters to you. Do something today to connect with yourself and examine your values, your priorities, your goals, your passions.  How much of this involves you just being what others have molded into you at will? How much is what you have decided resonates with you?  Only you can answer that.

Then carefully decide what you want to be ... notice, I said carefully. Don't be hasty and choose a personal makeover of all that you are on the basis of what you saw on a reality TV show or Dr. Phil.  Be deliberate and purposeful and choose carefully who you really wish to be. Not all you may feel or be or actually has to be trashed .. not at all. Just decide for yourself what really matters to you and gives you the sense of personal significance you seek.

Now, as a Christian minister, I would say one thing in addition to this .. and you can take it or leave it.

The Christian faith, rooted in Scripture, is clear that our self-identity, which we can freely choose, is estranged from God, our Creator, by the fallen humanity which we struggle with that leads us to sin against His will and against other people.  I will say that this is the great tragedy of human life on this planet and is why moments such as you express here occasionally break the surface of our conscious reflection. We are apart from ourselves because we are apart from Him. It has always been His desire for us to know Him, His guidance and His direction for our life .. and for us to choose to follow it.  It begins by trusting in the promises and hope that knowing His only begotten Son Jesus Christ will bring us.

In doing so, almost 36 years ago, my own personal cry of the same question was answered. I believe if you turn and learn of Him, your question will be marvelously, intimately and wonderfully answered.


The best idea would be to get some varied experiences.  Experience helps you to identify what you do and don't like (and what you do and don't know).

It would be great to be paid for your experiences and some jobs will do that (depending on your degree and background).  Don't worry much about finding the 'right' job at first, as it will be difficult if you are still finding yourself.  Doing something (anything) will at least help you as a litmus test.

Another option would be the unpaid route (either interning or volunteering).  If you have a particular passion, belief, etc, you might try volunteering there.  The intent is to give back and gain experience while you do it.  Some go off and hike or travel, whatever it may be, it is the experience that counts.

Finding yourself is a lifetime challenge.  You will go through 5-7 significant career changes in your life (20+ jobs on average) so don't worry about getting it 'right', just go try things.  Same goes for your personal life, sometimes you just need to try things (safely of course. :))


Can you imagine a world in which the answer to this question is either evident or super easy to determine.

The joy and mystery of life is owing to this question !

Also even if one attempts to think that there is an answer, it always appears as if there is a higher or deeper answer available !

The ancient seekers all over the world have tried answering this question and have answered variously by small powerful statements such as SOHAM (I am That), TATTVAMASI (Thou art That) or AHAM BRAHMASMI (I am the Infinite Reality).

Now even as these answers are known, the magic or mystery of life is that, one can live in complete knowledge, partial knowledge or complete ignorance. One can also question any final truth which may have been stated and continue to live one's life in illusion.

There are several paths - institutional, personal available for one to experience the reality of one's self ! The paths are infinite just as the joy of life is infinite !


Depending upon your age, don't worry about it. We all get to know ourselves over time (years) little by little.

If you're one of the lucky ones, you'll know yourself pretty well when your around 50. After that you'll get to know yourself in greater measure every year.

Self-awareness, self-confidence, self-approval, amour-propre (self-confidence, self-respect and self-esteem) and eventually, self-actualization.

That's a lot of self-knowledge that we all hope to learn about ourselves, and it's not something that comes overnight and it doesn't come without active determination and a concerted effort.

You say you don't know who you are. That's because you don't know who you are. So it's up to you to maintain a consistent effort to learn about who you are and become well acquainted with yourself.

Don't be in a rush to know yourself. Take your time, peel back the layers one at a time just like you would when you're getting to know anyone else.


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