In my office there is a sign that quotes Oscar Wilde: "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." But how can you be yourself when you are not all that clear about just who that is, even though you have been living with yourself for your whole life long? There are many paths to this uncomfortable uncertainty. I will mention a few, in case one or more may strike a cord with you:
Some people have grown up in households where the rule is to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get on with it. The result can be that personal preferences and style are ignored in favor of dealing with problems quickly or, better yet, by pretending that they are not even there.
Some, as they grew up, have learned that it is forbidden to look too deeply into themselves because doing so might result in attitudes that would be disapproved of by those important to them. Conformity is the rule.
Some concluded early in their lives that is safer to hide behind a pretend identity - one that they think everyone will like. Be popular is the rule.
Some have concluded that it is best to yield to the preferences of others. The rule is to please others, not yourself.
Some haven't had time to listen to themselves because they are caretakers. Perhaps they had to take care of parents, grandparents, or siblings as they themselves grew up, and now they have been doing the same for their own spouses and children. The rule is to pay attention to the needs of others, not your own, even if you can tell what they are.
Some have come upon circumstances that have so challenged their self-views that they must reassess and redefine themselves. The experience can be quite disconcerting. The rule is to look again.
Psychotherapy has the potential to help you better get in touch with yourself. IF you would like explore issues of personal identity, you are welcome to CONTACT ME