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Why is it so hard to figure out who I am, and who I want to be?

16 Answers
Last Updated: 03/01/2021 at 3:04am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Stacy Overton, PhD.


I am an enthusiastic life-long learner and also a professor of counseling. I have a passion for peoples stories and helping to guide and empower the human spirit.

Top Rated Answers
January 16th, 2015 10:05am
Most of us live in a very noisy world, filled with wants, desires, fears, bright lights, sounds, and emotions. It can make figuring out anything of real meaning quite the challenge. A lot of time we're pulled around by other people’s expectations of us, what we think they want us to be, or what we would like to be based on who we want them to think we are. Or we're just simply doing things to escape some kind of fear we've been harbouring in the depths of our unconscious. It’s difficult because at the root of it, we know we’re just putting on a mask, playing a game of ego, and that our deepest truest selves are buried beneath all these ideas, concepts and personas. Finding true purpose often takes a lot of filtering, experiencing of other things first, exploring, listening and patience, and to know yourself on the subtlest levels. Then when things are quiet enough, purpose may just well find you. It can be difficult to know what any of our purposes here are, but moment to moment, it can be whatever it needs to be. Each moment is carrying a message, and an opportunity for self reflection, every time you notice it and respond with awareness, the deeper it will take you to your truth, if you miss it, not to worry, it will keep repeating itself until you catch it. There’s not really a right or wrong way to do it and there’s no real endgame, but by embracing each experience we get to uncover another piece of the puzzle, which can be a purpose in itself. Good questions to aid this kind of discovery might be things like, if I were completely free of every concern, time and money or other people’s opinions were no longer an issue, what would I wake up and feel good about spending my time doing?
September 21st, 2015 9:52am
It takes time to figure out these things? Once you do, there will be an answer waiting for you just around the corner, and you will be a most happy person.
February 2nd, 2016 3:49am
people have told u what u should be all ur life, u just need to be ur true self, actually, only when u connect with ur true self, u will be get unstuck
April 26th, 2016 6:37am
If it were easy it would have been boring. Imagine not being able to have a challenge in figuring it out. Take your time and enjoy the challenge.
January 14th, 2015 7:01pm
Everybody goes through phases of not knowing who they are or who they want to be; be it in the context of what career path they want, what gender they prefer (whether exclusively one or both), and a whole variety of other things. So you are certainly not alone in struggling to figure out who you are or who you want to be. Most people who know the answer to those questions have made mistakes, had heartbreaks and failures in their lives, and tried things that weren't for them. No one is born knowing who they are or who they want to be, and most people take a long time and a windy journey to find out.
February 17th, 2015 1:36pm
It takes time. Don't stress. If you have only recently started looking into who you are it will take a while. Even after you are sure about who you are something or someone will come along and you may find out something else about you.
May 11th, 2015 8:19pm
No matter what age, gender, ethnicity, shape, or size you are.. Life is hard. Everything can be confusing and scary and you have no idea how you want to go about the rest of your life. It is a totally normal thing, for most people, and I can promise you that it will pass. You just have to trust yourself to make the right decisions and do whats best for you!
June 8th, 2015 2:06pm
I think it is that hard because as I was about to figure out who I am, I recognized that I do not fit into heteronormativity. That meant I had to figure out my truly self without having these models from heteronormativity.
February 5th, 2016 1:29am
Because otherwise life would be pretty boring ;) Seriously, it's an ongoing challenge, especially when you're not like most people. But it's also a rewarding journey. Good luck, and do ask for help with figuring things out if you need some!
February 9th, 2016 11:12pm
It's hard simply because you don't have experience in certain matters. Like, you think you like girls, but you never had a romantic relationship with one.
June 7th, 2016 6:48pm
It's a difficult process to go through. Everyone pressures you to figure it out as quickly as you can but let me tell you, go at any pace you want. This is something for you to decide. It's hard because this isn't something that happens overnight. It's a gradual process and I'm sure.. I'm sure you'll be able to figure out who you are and who you want to to be. Heck, I'm still trying to figure that out. We'll all get there one day.
- Expert in LGBTQ+ Issues
July 3rd, 2017 7:23pm
Maybe because our identity can be very complex and not easy to define. Don't worry, what you're going through is normal. Take your time, think about yourself, your desires, aspirations, needs. Try to imagine what could make you happy if there was no one to judge or nothing to stop you. That is who you are and what you want. And remember that figuring out who you are is not a matter of labeling yourself, it's about understanding yourself and accepting that we all are also quite complex, don't be scared if some things about yourself seem contradictory: we are human. All humans are complicated but potentially beautiful.
August 14th, 2018 8:40pm
Because since you are born you are being told how to be, how to act, how to react, Then they send you to school and you are being told how to think, what to think and what to aspire to be. The Result: You end up forgetting who you were in the first place, you lose free-thinking, you lose individualism.
August 14th, 2018 9:27pm
Because it is a secret and a puzzle, when you know that answer of your question, you are gonna change the world.
December 9th, 2019 3:00am
I think lots of times it's about what questions we ask ourselves. Sometimes, we are drawn to ask questions that seek definite answers. When it comes to self-identity and development, maybe there aren't so many absolutes. Building deeper self-rapport, knowledge, and awareness builds confidence and insight. So, maybe ask more contextual questions. In a good moment, ask yourself, "what is it about what is happening that makes me feel good?" or get specific about what the "good" is made of, such as, physical comfort, sensory stimulation, connection with others, humor, using a special talent or skill, etc. Are you feeling satisfied? curious? loved? amazed? amused? thoughtful? inspired? validated? supported? challenged? surprised? Keeping track of your answers will help you better understand your deep values, which sometimes are a bit different from what we might list if someone asks us what our values are. (Pro tip: Ask yourself what would make the moment even better, and track that, too.) You can do the same thing with "bad" or otherwise dissatisfying moments. The information you gather will help you start to build a picture of what kinds of circumstances promote your well being, growth, and satisfaction—which makes it easier to seek those kinds of circumstances, activities, people, relationships, work, and more. Over time, as you create a life that is increasingly aligned with your authentic self, the story of who you are will be expressed in how you live. And your increased knowledge of self will help you better identify who you want to be. One way of looking at it. :)
March 1st, 2021 3:04am
I was over age 50 before I figured out the answer to that one. And if you are in your 20s or 30s or even 40s, please don't despair. My experience is my experience. If you are in your 20s and asking this question, that's great. And it doesn't mean it's going to take you 30 years to figure out who you are. I went through a divorce and a spiritual awakening at age 52. So, that was my situation. When I was 25, I had an MBA from a top B School and a fast-track job with one of the top 10 Money Center International Banks in the world. And I thought I had it all figured out. I had the blueprint in my head and written down. I had the timeline all set. I was going to do this, by this particular date. And that would happen by that date. I THOUGHT that "I" was in control of it all. And then I learned, and it was shown to me by my Higher Power, that I wasn't in charge of anything or anyone but myself. MY timeline didn't align with the Universe's. And I learned that the hard way. So, check in with what makes you happy. What lights you up. What you would do for free. Just because it is who you are. And ask to be guided. Allow others who have been there to help you. You don't need to figure it out all by yourself. And if you check in with yourself, who you really ARE at your core, the answers will come. What are you so passionate about, that it would make you jump out of bed in the mornings. Especially on Monday mornings. And go do that. If you can't get hired (yet,) in that field, volunteer in an area that will give you the experience doing that thing. See if you really want to do it. Or offer to be an unpaid intern for an organization or business in the area in which you want to work. If you aren't working currently, why not? Many internships have a pathway to full-time employment.