Life Purpose Readings
by Sue Annabrooke Jones

Who Am I And What Am I Doing Here?

If you are asking yourself this question, good for you! It's a great question to ask, provided you own the question. If the question owns you, you are likely going through an identity crisis.

What is an Identity Crisis?

An identity crisis is a state of mind in which one's innate sense of identity is called into question, resulting in a disconnect from one's intrinsic sense of worth to oneself and to the world at large. Questions like "Who am I?" and "What am I doing here?" typically drive the whole agonizing experience.

Emotional states that may accompany an identity crisis are panic, confusion, anxiety, alienation from others, lack of interest in anything, inertia, apathy, and/or depression.

An identity crisis can be disruptive to one's life, at best, or result in a complete shutdown, at worst. In most cases, the identity crisis is temporary. In extreme cases where the disconnect from oneself is a profound one and it isn't healed in some way, the person may end up taking his or her own life.

Who Experiences an Identity Crisis?

The identity crisis is most often associated with young adults in their late teens, but anyone can experience an identity crisis.

What Triggers an Identity Crisis?

A person's sense of self can be breached by almost any event or situation, particularly if that person's connection with self is already strained, or if s/he is struggling with tough challenges. Having the rug suddenly pulled out from under one may trigger an identity crisis, but an identity crisis may also come on gradually.

Why Are Persons in Their Late Teens Vulnerable?

People in this age group are far enough along in their maturation process to view themselves as adults, and they are expected to think and behave like adults. Yet their brains are still growing, and will continue to grow, until they reach the age of 21. So for some, this phase of life can be an awkward and difficult one.

Also, those in their late teens are ripe for questioning personal beliefs and societal values. But beliefs and values are formed through life experience, and lacking such, how can they work out what their beliefs and values are? Trying to sort it out in a vacuum can be frustrating. It helps to have friends one's own age to bounce around ideas with.

Society holds "great expectations" for young adults, particularly males, who are expected to have solid career plans. Those who are undecided about a career path may feel insecure about themselves or believe there is something wrong with them, especially if parents and other authority figures are pressuring them to decide.

Peer pressure may play a role too. Those in their late teens often measure their self-worth through comparison with others, so if peers have a solid footing on their career paths, those who feel left out may be vulnerable to an identity crisis.

Many young adults in this age group attend college or university after high school. If they haven't yet been introduced to the meaning-of-life debate, they will surely make its acquaintance in the lecture halls, classrooms, dormitories, cafeterias, playing fields, and walkways of academia. Ideas and theories about life's origin, meaning, and purpose abound in disciplines like science, literature, philosophy, and world religions; and the weighty questions raised in these courses of study can compel a young person to come to terms with the meaning of one's own existence, ready or not.

Don't Let an Identity Crisis Sabotage Your Life

If you are going through an identity crisis, no matter what the intensity, please don't allow it to compromise your education, your work or home life, or your relationships. Consider ordering a Life Purpose Reading. Even if you reject everything I tell you in the Life Purpose Reading, you will win. Why? Because by thinking it through critically for yourself (which I encourage you to do), you will gain a foothold for climbing out of whatever stuck place you're in right now.