We all have moments when we dislike ourselves, face confusion about who we are, or experience imposter syndrome. There are ways we can realign these feelings, but it becomes a real problem when we continue to doubt our identities. Even if we have genuine connections with others, we can still feel disconnected from ourselves. That creates a root of loneliness and unfulfillment. It's not that we need to find ourselves; we need to see ourselves the way God does. You may think you "see" yourself because you know your weaknesses and mistakes. Self-awareness is essential, but the things you need to work on are not who you are. To know who you are, you can start by knowing why you are. God created humanity as an expression of His relational love. He wanted us to enjoy Creation in perfect peace. He also wanted us to have the free will to choose to love Him. Sadly, we chose to doubt God and invite evil into our lives. Since then, the bad has been part of our reality. However, our purpose remains the same: To love God and love people. You were made to love and be loved. You have unique traits and gifts that God gave you with that goal in mind. If you're struggling to feel comfortable with yourself, here are some practical and profound steps to take:
Especially in this era of noise, it can feel disconcerting to just be with yourself. Without anything coming in, your mind is free to have an identity crisis. But what if you remembered you're never alone? God is with you everywhere, and He loves the real you. Acknowledging His presence will help you to see yourself the way He does. The more you hang out with God, the more you'll feel comfortable hanging out with yourself.
People who say you have nothing to contribute or that your sins are unforgivable are not speaking the truth. Jesus told people the hard truth while offering grace to everyone. There is nothing that can make you beyond hope. Instead of thinking you're not "good enough" to be treated right, seek out people who practice the habits you aspire to. Find people who lift you up and point out the strengths you may not see on your own. A big part of knowing yourself is knowing who to listen to and growing in the good they see in you. Above all else, the Bible is your best source to compare what others say to what God says. You'll find wisdom for your internal battles and relationships in God's Word.
As much as I advocate for writing in journals and taking contemplative walks in nature, staying in our heads too much can disassociate us from our identity. We learn a lot about ourselves when we "get out there." Now, I'm not saying that impulsive choices will help you grow in who you are because that is generally the opposite of true. However, intentional actions require reflection while adding the next step that takes you out of your head. What are some things you feel called to do, even if you have doubts about your abilities? How can you give your time and talents to others? Thoughtfully reaching outside your comfort zone will lead to a new perspective on how you see yourself.
Holding onto regret causes disillusionment from your identity. That happens when you think, "How could I have been so dumb?" or "What kind of person would do what I did?" Forgiving yourself means letting go of those disappointments and expectations and starting fresh. Jesus has already forgiven your every mistake, and continuous shame is not His plan for you. He wants you to receive His freedom and lean into transformation. God's will is to change you for the rest of your life. Pieces of your personality, goals, interests, and character will -and should - change. Your identity as an irreplaceable, grace-given Child of God will forever remain the same.
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.