Marianna Saill Dilnot 2014

Identity and Belonging

Identity and belonging is about embracing who you are and where you truly belong. It is the key to happiness and success, but as we progress through our lives, we always feel the need to be similar to the people around us. Wanting a place to feel included, loved and protected. We are blinded by the idea of perfection, failing to understand that loving yourself and who you truly are is the essence of identity. It is so easy to define our worth by deriving our self-esteem from the perceptions of those around us and we have a constant fear that who we truly are won’t be accepted and liked by others. But what we really need to understand, is that our identity is so powerful. Carl Jung once quoted, ‘I am not what happened to me. I am what I chose to become’.

You are on a journey, not necessarily to find yourself, but to create yourself. Drifting with the crowd day to day only diminishes the opportunity to really embrace your true self. Being yourself is the most natural thing you can be. Trying to supress it would be uncomfortable and you would end up surrounded by the wrong people. The good and bad experiences throughout our lives are what truly shape us as a person and is such a fundamental process to creating identity. I believe that the saying ‘stay true to yourself’ is tossed around a lot throughout one’s life, but have you ever stopped to think about the actual depth of these words? Staying true to yourself is about daring to stand alone and being who you truly want to be. If you reflect on what you want and follow what you desire, then you will belong and find true happiness. It may not be to a certain group of people, to where you think you are meant to be or maybe even to your family. This may mean sometimes contradicting people’s opinions of what they expect of you or who they think you should be. Staying true to yourself is a lot easier said than done, but if you truly know yourself, then you will choose the right pathway in life. Seems simple doesn’t it? Listen to yourself and to what you really want and you will eventually end up in the right place. Truth is, it’s not that simple. As a child I used to think, I know my name and I know who I am, so what could they possibly mean by knowing yourself? Knowing yourself isn’t a destination but rather a journey. Learning new things each day about yourself and others, influences who you want to be and what you want to do. So, as Omar Bradley once said, “Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship”.