Four Core Identity Elements

Your Significance – “Yes, you are significant now as a teenager”

Central to your identity – particularly your self-perspective – is coming to realize your significance (you are already more significant than you think), discovering a sense of purpose and meaning, identifying your personal qualities and adopting the set of values that will help define you.  Although these begin as your-self perspective, they will obviously heavily influence how others see you.

Your Purpose – Life Purpose or Purpose as a Teenager

“What is my purpose?  This is a big question and the answer may not be clear as a teenager.  The question will, however, come alive during the teenage years.   And yes, the key is to ask the question, not come up with an immediate and crystal clear answer that will last forever.  It is very likely that you will identify a sense of purpose as a teenager that will evolve as you get older.  Your initial focus may be your purpose as a teenager or it may be a sense of your life purpose.  It does not matter which focus you have as long as you are asking the question – and hopefully talking with others about it.

Your Personal Qualities

Discovering your personal qualities – and acting on them – is another piece in building the jigsaw puzzle of your identity.  This is similar to discovering your purpose and how you are significant.  There are a surprising number of personal qualities that you already possess and a bunch more that you can develop relatively easily, so exploring your personal qualities can be exciting.

Your Values

You will come to your teenage years with beliefs and values, but the natural challenge on the teenage journey is to review them given your new mental capabilities, awareness of the world around you and your drive to become your own person.

This doesn’t mean a wholesale rejection of childhood beliefs and values.  We usually keep most of the key beliefs and values, but can add some new ones, and let some go.  The critical point is that they become truly your beliefs and values and they can then guide you and support you in life.

What follows are sections that look at lots of elements that combine to form your identity puzzle.  We will take an in-depth look at four core elements (significance, purpose, personal characteristics, and values).  We will also look at ten other elements that can have a significant impact on forming a young adult identity.

Elements in an Identity

The Four Core Elements

You are the Author

  1. Your Sense of Significance
  2. Your Purpose
  3. Your Personal Qualities
  4. Your Values

Ten Other Important Elements

You Define Their Impact

  1. Gender & Sexual Orientation
  2. Race and Ethnicity
  3. Activities & affiliations
  4. Physical appearance
  5. Capabilities
  6. Culture
  7. Religion
  8. Socio-economic status
  9. Nation/Region
  10. Politics