Identity Crisis: When I Doubt Myself

Identity Crisis: When I Doubt Myself
Sergio De Dios González

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Ever since we were young, we’ve been forging our identity little by little. Sometimes, we are led by other people’s strong personalitiesuntil we finally discover our own identity. An identity that’s unique, our own, that we’ll continue to feed into positively until the end of our days.

But what happens when we’re not so clear on who we are?  Doubts arise, we feel insecureand we start to feel like we exist without existing. A series of thoughts that lead us to an empty space and a terrifying loneliness.

“I’ve looked for you to know who I am, and I don’t know who I am.”

-Hanni Ossot-

Some of the transcendent questions that come up when we’re doubting our own identity and make us feel doubtful and bewildered are: who am I?, what am I doing with my life?, where am I going?, etc.

confused at the window

Am I suffering from an identity crisis?

Throughout our lives, we go through various crises. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re negative, though. On the contrary, they’re quite the opposite. Crises can help us to find the correct path and strengthen our personality.

There are certain ages in which it’s difficult to escape these periods of crisis:

  • Adolescence: a complicated stage, where everyone is becoming an adult. In this stage, various identity crises occur, because everyone is seeking to find their true self. Rebelling against everything and everyone, talking trash, going out with friends…all of this has an explanation: looking for who you really are.
  • In your 40s: an age in which you’ve already lived through many experiences, and now you’re at a turning point. You get older, and with a desire to regain the youth that got left behind, you fall into a crisis in which you often don’t know why you’re acting the way you’re acting.

These are some of the most common crises. These are two critical stages of life where we feel lost, empty, disoriented, and without expectations. Two stages where a crisis might be necessary to reaffirm who we are.

In these two stages, there is something that is common to both: emotional instability.

When this happens during adolescence, it’s quite accepted. After all, we’re still only children at that point, so we act like children. But what if we act like children, lost and looking to experiment in life, when we’re in our forties?

We shouldn’t be afraid of these periods of crisis, even though we usually are. Sometimes, they’re quite necessary to continue constructing our own self, our own identity.

They can be hard and unstable times, and they can last a long time. But when they end, we are reborn with a much stronger identity.

growing plant

A necessary step for the construction of the self

As we’ve said, crises are necessary for us to go on constructing our own identity.

It’s a time of change that, if we’re not prepared to face it, causes us to rebel in different ways. We suffer from changes in mood and great emotional instability.

“There is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity.”

-E. H. Erikson-

This passing period of instability and disorganization can appear not only in the most well-known stages of life, but also during many other times. For example, after the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a divorce.

These situations cause us to look inward and figure out how to face them properly. They are moments that often overwhelm us and we don’t know how to react to them.

They’re critical, but necessary. They help us to construct a stronger identity.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.