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how to overcome

Chad Prinsloo | Web Designer

Janine Do Cabo  | Sustainability & Leadership Development  |  JHB, SA

Nov 2020

In the previous blog post, we discussed what an identity crisis is.  In case you missed it, allow me to share it again.  According to the merriam dictionary it can be defined as, personal psychosocial conflict especially in adolescence that involves confusion about one’s social role and often a sense of loss of continuity to one’s personality. 

With that definition fresh in your mind, we will go into today’s post which will look at how to overcome an identity crisis. 

In order to overcome an identity crisis, try to first understand what led you to feel as though you don’t know who you are, why you’re here and even a much deeper question, did you ever know? 

Unfortunately, not many have had the assurance that comes from knowing who they are because, from as far back as they can remember, their lives were topsy turvy, wrought with what could be described as waves of one traumatic event after another.  When looking at the causes of an identity crisis, it’s easy to see how life and its uncertainties could rock anyone’s identity to the core.  Whether it be a divorce, a loss, abandonment from someone who had an influential role in their life – causing nothing but ripples of self-doubt and confusion. 

The first point of call, therefore would be to examine the heart with the intention of identifying what is housed in it.  Life happens to everyone and it’s perfectly ok to not feel like “you.”  When it does and, when you know who you are, it’s a little easier to pick yourself up and keep it moving. However, a tell-tale sign that you may be a little “lost” is when something happens that shakes your “normal”, you’re left feeling as though you’re grasping at straws, confused and stuck, almost with the feeling that you’ve stepped in quicksand and the only option you have is to survive. 

When this happens, you need to just for a little bit and examine. Start with your heart.

Examining your heart may not just entail determining the circumstances that led to you feeling “off,” but also, look for answers to questions that would be the absolute truths to who you are so that when life throws you lemons, you’re able to make lemonade with the appreciation that what’s happened, doesn’t have to define you. 


These questions may include:

1. What determines my worth?

Now, this may be a tricky one, but it’s vital in helping you in staying rooted in who you are.  Worth is more than self-confidence.  It’s deeper than confidence, it’s the price you’d put to yourself if you were to be on display at a store.  You could actually say, it’s the foundation that your confidence is built upon (or should be).  A price tag doesn’t necessarily mean a monetary value but rather what you’d live/fight for or tolerate.  It’s how you’d want people to show you respect, handle conflict and when you feel like someone or something is abusive to you. 

Even if the someone is you. 

Establishing your worth means you know when to back away from people or things that compromise on who you are.  If that friend talks down to you, walk away, but you need to know what talking down is to you and if it comes from a valid place.

Determining and knowing your worth is like knowing your companies’ competitive advantage or core competencies of your character. When I went for my first work interview the CEO asked me when it came to salary “What I think I am worth?” being fresh out of university that was not something that at that point even crossed my mind, today I can answer that question but put much more to it than a mere financial value. Process, daily growth and a healthy habits of getting to know yourself could be a journey you would want to start with. It is an adventure! Time to enjoy it.


2. Re-discover yourself

If you’ve come through a trauma that shook you so deep you don’t have anything left of what you thought defined your worth then, it’s ok to rediscover who you are as a result of that life event or trauma.  Looking for the good that outweighs the bad, but not pretending as though it didn’t happen. 

If for example, you experience a loss of someone who you regarded as being a rock in times of difficulty and who may have been pivotal in establishing your worth, as tough as it may be at first, adapt the mindset that evolution doesn’t have to be a negative thing.  

Evolving could look like being more aggressive with using the time you have on earth to be productive if fear held you back or vocalizing your feelings if you had difficulty in expressing yourself before. 

The journey of rediscovery isn’t a quick or easy one, so make peace with the road you must travel, be patient with yourself and embrace it.


3. Be patient

As briefly mentioned before, be patientWith yourself mostly, and with others.  Some people take months while others their entire lives.  However long your process, determine to never stop learning, growing and accepting all that you are, faults, flaws, warts and all but not allowing those flaws to be a destination in your life but rather a pitstop where you made a decision to do/be a better version of yourself.


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