How to Develop a Positive Identity?
According to Erik Erikson, adolescence is the stage of finding one's identity and place on earth. Adolescents are concerned about finding who they are and what they want to become in the future. James Marcia (1980) adds that adolescents can identify where they are in this task by reflecting on how much they have explored various roles and how committed they have become. According to him, some have not yet explored and have not yet committed, some have committed but have not yet explored, some have explored but have not yet committed, and some have succeeded through adequate exploration and ample commitment. If you think you have not yet reached "identity achievement", here is a list of helpful attitudes for you to develop a positive identity.
"Be aware that your identity is complex and takes a long time to develop." Identity comes from experience, out of the different roles that you have tried, your choices, and even your genes. It has many components - people, places, things, ideas and personalities. Try to be patient with yourself.
"Make the most of your college years." Adolescence extends up to 20 years old. Meet new people, have new friends. Try various roles. Engage in different activities. Take advantage of your education and what college has to offer. Look at things in a newer perspective. New people, new places, new things and new ideas... These are the very components that can challenge yourself and your identity.
"Guard against foreclosure." Foreclosure happens when you commit to an identity without fully exploring your environment. This usually happens when adolescents adopt external impositions at the expense of their own choices, like choosing whether to go to college or not, what college to go to and what degree to take. Begin deciding for yourself.
"Expect your identity to change." There is no such thing as a permanent identity. Change is an important indicator of development. Even if you think you have already found your identity, real "identity achievement" is being confident about yourself despite the possibility of change. Learn to be flexible, and try not to be too hard on yourself. Welcome changes as part of the continuous growth and development of your identity.
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