Who am I? What am I here for? These are life long questions that most of us struggle to answer. Many wander through life without discovering their identity. Some of us take up the identity of others who influence us with their way of life, for others whatever is in vogue brings about a change in their identity. For some the crisis is obvious for everyone to see, for others it is well hidden. A person who has beautiful, brown skin chooses to bleach their skin because of a crisis of identity which makes them believe that light skin superior to dark skin. A mixed race individual suffers from a crisis of identity resulting from not being sure they are black or white, a full grown man who has had several girl crushes and dates as a young boy and teenager wakes up one morning only to declare that he is gay due to a crisis of identity!
Many of us grew up wanting to be Doctors, Lawyers and Engineers, not because we knew what those professions entailed, on the contrary, we mentioned them when we were asked because our parents had probably drummed it into our ears that if you wanted to be somebody worthy of recognition in life, you had to be in one of those fields. At the end of the day, we became frustrated young adults because we studied what we were not even remotely interested in and came out of school confused. Even worse, we took up our current jobs purely out of the need to survive and make a living and not for the love of it (A familiar story for those of us in Nigeria, where good jobs are difficult to come by).
My 2 cents is this…first of all, it is important that as an individual, you try to discover yourself. Appreciate your individuality and uniqueness. Love yourself. What are your hobbies,values, likes and dislikes? And by all means pray and meditate…it helps! I think this is particularly important for people who have lived sheltered lives and have always had decisions taken for them or those who have low self esteem probably due to abuse or some other personal challenges, or people who have always been part of a clique, because sometimes being within a group of friends stifles our personality. Whether we admit it or not, the kind of friends we keep affects not just how people see us, but how we also see ourselves. Upon interacting with someone outside of their group of friends, they are usually almost entirely different- the girl you always believed was a snub because of her friends actually turns out to be quite friendly!
Some have said, to know what you really enjoy doing, find something you would be willing to do with joy and without any financial gratification, and I totally agree! In other words, your hobby should be your job and vice versa. So, my advice is this, find your sweet spot! Even if you currently have a day job that you really don’t care about, try to do what YOU love doing by the side, whether you are getting paid for it or not. The fulfillment it would bring cannot be quantified because you will know you have found your haven!
Self love cannot also be overemphasized. If we are at peace with ourselves and have come to a full acceptance of who we are, then it will never occur to us that someone else is better because of the color of their skin, texture of their hair or whether they are skinnier or fatter. We will see ourselves as equal to anyone regardless of our personal challenges or geographical location. Finding or knowing ones identity may involve a continuous process of self-discovery and affirmation for some, which makes sense because life would be boring if everyone was so self assured. The journey is what makes things interesting.
My name is Ololade Ajekigbe, Female, Christian, Nigerian, Black and Proud Writer and Blogger… Who are you?