“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understandings. It is a bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your self-sick, so therefore, trust the physician and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.”
In the course of history, Erik Erikson was the first man who unfolded the eight stages of personal growth everyone undergoes during his adolescence. At each of these stages, he faces internal conflicts that draw him to a turning edge of the life where he finds his authentic self and true identity. A crisis occurs when people feel uncertainty about who they really are and their genuine role in life.
Identity development is a lifelong process that starts from childhood and ends at an old age. At one time or another, we all experience identity crisis in our life when things and events seem out of control, we stuck in the past and experience trouble in moving into the future. But eventually, this crisis leads us to a positive solution to our internal conflicts and external challenges. Identity formation involves multiple factors like genetics, physical, moral, psychological, and social.
The adolescence is a period when one delves into an identity as a process of discovering his authentic self, he got confused or stuck about his personal strength, flaws, and weakness. All these interim confusions and uncertainties create doubts about oneself and his role in society. If one fails to develop the abilities or qualities that help us to build a strong sense of self and understandings of our surrounding, his entire life dominates around suffering, recklessness and extreme ego-driven behaviors.
To step outside from this self-made domination of ego, one needs to look the life and people with the eyes of presence instead of ego. Today, we are breathing in a digital age with less social norms and ethics, where people used to examine their identities on the basis of external factors like career moves, property, credits, and social circle.
We need to realize that the role we play in the society, the feature we exhibit, and the things we believe in are all matters the most in the ordinary realm of human discourse but they can never personify who we really are.
When one unable to feel his presence without the sense of these external factors he will have doubts about his beliefs, skills, and future endeavors and his entire life will dominate around mistrust, inferiority complex, isolation, and escape from reality.
This identity crisis could be severe when one fails to set up a topology for understandings that how young adults genuinely deal with the internal conflicts without bashing out on loved ones and learn to cope with external challenges of life. This is the major factor behind the overwhelming rate of divorce and breakups in our society.
Due to generation gap parents are completely unaware of the internal and psychological problems their child has been going through since the adolescence so when the one partner either in intimacy or in a relationship proves unfaithful the other questions his/her identity because they are no longer associated with that person and this emotional separation affects their abilities in future decision, values, goals, intimacy, and relationships.
In order to draw a constructive view of life with solid colors, one needs to expose his true self behind the ego that he built as a defense mechanism only to preserve himself from more hurt and pain. Our youth should be realized that suffering, uncertainties, and pain are the major factors in the process of personality development.
Consequently, the identity crisis is a sizeable resistance in the process of personality growth and sometimes the stressful events could be so overwhelming that the achieved identity may sabotage or lost entirely. The solution to this significant problem of youth lies within their own authentic self. One should never surrender to the chaos and hurtful events of life, believe that whatever is taking apart within you will eventually unfold your real identity.
Saadeqa Khan is the founder, CEO, & Editor-in-Chief of Scientia Pakistan. She’s a member of the Oxford Climate Journalism Network (Second Cohort) and NASW. Saadeqa is a fellow of NPF Washington, The Falling Walls Foundation, and the Science Journalism Forum. Saadeqa has won several international journalism grants and awards for her reports.