Meenal Patel, Licensed Professional Counselor

Without sometimes recognizing it, we self-identity ourselves daily. The clothes we choose to wear, the make-up, the glasses, hats, shoes, hairstyle, body piercings, tattoos, etc., are all ways that we choose to self-identify ourselves on the outside for others to see. Internally, we identity our self through our religion, culture, self-esteem, emotions, etc. We have ways to self-identity ourselves in the public self and in the private self. How do we differentiate between both of those?

Aspects that make up our public self-include: appearance, style, and personality.

  • Appearance: Appearance is sometimes defined as beauty and all cultures all over the world have different ways of presenting themselves. A big part is being aware of your appearance feeling comfortable with who you are.
  • Style: Style does not only mean with clothing choices, but also with the way you talk, walk, move your body, and facial expressions. All of these things make up your style and it is unique to you; not what society is saying is “cool”.
  • Personality: Only you have your personality. Our personalities change with the people that we are around, but in general, we are who we are.

The private self includes thoughts, feelings, fantasies.

  • Thoughts: Thoughts are inside your own head, and it helps you self-identify as it a way that you process things independently. No one knows what you are thinking unless you tell people.
  • Feelings: This explores how you are feeling in the moment and how we all feel differently even with the same experience. We feel sad, happy, angry, frustrated all differently and act on them differently.
  • Daydream/Fantasies: We all have different dreams and interpret them differently too. They are unique to you and only you experience them in a way that means something to you.

Your social identity is through your kinship, ethnicity and nationality, religious and group affiliations.

  • Kindship: Your last name is given to you and that is a way to identify yourself. It is a name that has been passed down from generation to generation and its yours! Embrace it!
  • Ethnicity and Nationality: Ethnicity helps us explore our cultural identity and traditions that we have been taught. Nationality does too and helps us feel proud of where we come from and who we are.
  • Religious and Group Affiliations: Religion helps define who we are and is often a core dynamic of identifying ourselves.
  • Self-Esteem:
    • Appearance: This means looking good for yourself! It can help boost your self-identity if you are happy with the way you look.
    • Performance: Being able to perform well at what you enjoy doing. If that means in a sport, musical instrument, or at a job. Doing it well can help self-identify who are you.
    • Power: Taking control of the situations that you are able to. Status, money, people around you. When you are in control of your surroundings, you can feel more engaged and willing to do things.
    • Social Rewards: When people praise you and show affection towards you while also respecting you is a great way to self-identify as others are also seeing the work that you are doing for yourself.

The biggest take away should be to be you. In any way that you want to self-identify should be in whatever ways that makes you happy. You should be able to express yourself openly and be unique in the way you present yourself on the inside and on the outside.

If you feel like you are struggling with identifying who you are and need support in finding you, feel free to contact any of our talented therapists at Symmetry Counseling for a complimentary 20-minute consult before your first appointment!