Who am I?
What is important to me?
Where do I belong?
All of these questions point to personal identity and have an impact on your mental wellness. Here are three areas that are valuable to reflect on when examining your identity:
- Personal Values
- Social Connections
Roles – The roles that we play in different areas in our lives contribute to our identity. For example, family member, friend, community member, etc. The roles we play in our lives show our connection to people and the groups that we participate in. Our roles also contribute to what gives meaning to our daily lives. Having a clear understanding of the roles that we play can contribute to our mental wellness, as it gives us purposeful relationships, connection, and belonging.
Personal Values – Personal values are learned and developed from family and life experiences. Knowing what your core values are, for example, love, honesty, and education, help to guide how you live and interact with others each day. This includes personal beliefs and spiritual or religious belief systems, which inform us on how to live in community with others and the land. Together, personal values help you to focus your attention on what matters most, which also contributes to your overall mental wellness.
Social Connections – Social connections, including relationships with significant others, family, friends, peers, work, and community groups, are invaluable to understanding your identity. We often get a sense of satisfaction when we have a positive interaction with another person, or personal connection to a specific group. Our connectedness to others is beneficial when reflecting on identity and our mental wellness, as these personal relationships cultivate our sense of belonging and purpose with others.
Having a clear understanding of your own identity helps self-development and contributes to positive self-esteem and well-being. Understanding and reflecting on your identity can also help to nurture your own mental wellness, as you live your life to its fullest potential.
Margarita Sysing, BSW, MSW, RSW
Clinical Counsellor/Registered Social Worker