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I work with many adults who are struggling to really know themselves: The 20-something who is at a loss about what to do with his life after having gone through college or having had a few meaningless jobs. The 30-something who had followed the path set up by her parents about who she was supposed to be, and realized that this was not who she actually is. The 40-something who has lived in a certain way, as a certain person, but who now feels hollow and empty inside as if the whole thing has been fake and a panic sets in. The 50-something who lacks a sense of intimacy after the kids have gotten older and she's not needed in the way she used to be. The 60-something who is supposed to be thinking about retirement one day but is dreading the next phase of life because he doesn't know what purpose life has beyond work. A clear sense of self (who we are, what we stand for, who we serve, what our mission in life is) is very important to well-being. It's even helpful if you practice a spiritual tradition of "no self" or a highly creative path: being able to master the rules is critical to being able to masterfully throw out the rules. For creatives, there is nothing clever or beautiful about having no clarity or structure if it's not done with vision and purpose. For the rest of us, having a clear sense of identity simply reduces our anxiety and increases our satisfaction with life, relationships, and the ability to get up in the morning.


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Jason Seidel, Psy.D.

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The Colorado Center
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