Transitions and Transformations: Finding Your True Self After Change

How To Find Your True Self Again When You Feel Lost - Eleni Hope

This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

Life has a funny way of throwing curveballs our way. Just when you settle into a comfortable groove — a new job, a move, the end of a relationship — the ground shifts beneath your feet. Suddenly, you might feel like a stranger, even to yourself.

Change rattles our sense of identity. It can leave us asking, “Who am I now that things are different?”

What would happen if we stopped seeing change as something to fear and instead used it as fuel for growth? Imagine emerging from a big life shift with a stronger, clearer sense of who you truly are.

That possibility is real. This article will explore how change shapes us and how to make the most of those transformative experiences to build your most resilient and authentic self.

Understanding Identity: It’s Not as Fixed as You May Think

Many of us typically picture ourselves as having a single, unchanging core identity that defines us. But the reality is a lot more complex.

Think of who you are less like a statue set in stone and more like a vibrant, sprawling tree. You have deeply rooted aspects of your personality, but you also constantly grow new branches, shed leaves with the seasons, and sway gracefully with the winds of change.

The temptation with personality tests or those “find your true self” articles is that they reduce us to a label. You might be introverted, have a free spirit, or be incredibly driven. But those traits are just single brushstrokes on a far grander portrait of who you are. Your hopes, your fears, the unique mix of your quirks, talents, and experiences — that’s where the magic lies. No quiz can ever capture that fully.

Looking Inward: Tools to Rediscover Yourself

Change can become an exhilarating adventure of self-discovery. Here are a few ways to tap into your evolving self:

  • The journaling journey: Don’t be afraid to get messy! Scribble down worries, celebrate tiny wins, and capture snippets of those fleeting “aha” moments. Re-reading your journal is like conversing with different versions of yourself over time. Sometimes, those past versions hold wisdom you might need in the present.
  • Mindfulness: master the moment: Practice being present and observing your inner world. Think of meditation like mental weightlifting — you’re training your focus not to get swept away by every thought or feeling.
  • Unleash your inner artist: Sometimes, expressing ourselves without words opens up new dimensions of who we are.

Navigating Change: Building Your Resilience Toolbelt

Change may be inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Use these strategies as you navigate unfamiliar territory:

  • Become an explorer: Instead of dreading the unknown, see this as your official invitation to be adventurous in your own life. Push those comfort zone boundaries. Tap into that childhood curiosity hidden under the layers of adult responsibility.
  • Anchored by values: What do you stand for, deep down? Integrity, curiosity, kindness? Let those core values be your touchstones in the chaos.
  • Your past victories are proof: You’ve made it through tough times before. Reflecting on those battles helps you see just how capable you truly are. Change forces you to call on those often dormant strengths and discover you’re even more resilient than you thought.

Change Never Ceases – And That’s a Good Thing

If everything always stayed the same, life would get pretty dull. Change is how you become the best version of yourself. Each time you adapt, you add a new ring to your tree trunk of life, marking growth and resilience.

We all go through periods where it feels like our identity is dissolving and reforming. In these moments, you can share your struggles with people you trust.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support — a listening ear from a friend or the guidance of a therapist can make all the difference. Online platforms like BetterHelp also offer convenient and accessible resources for navigating change and self-discovery.

The Transformative Power of Change

Change often feels like it’s happening to us, but there’s a subtle yet powerful mindset shift that can help you reclaim your agency. Start viewing change not as disruption but as a chance to rewrite your own story. 

Here’s how life’s shake-ups shape who you become:

  • Change builds adaptability: Think of tough times like boot camp for your resilience muscles. The more you practice navigating uncertainty, the more readily you’ll face whatever the future holds. It’s like your internal compass adjusts to the unexpected, making it less scary.
  • Uncovering hidden depths: When your familiar routine is disrupted, you’re forced to tap into talents or strengths you might not have known you had. Maybe you discover a knack for making friends in a new city or a fierce determination that surprises even yourself.
  • Redefining priorities: Major life shifts can bring what truly matters into focus. Change can be a catalyst for asking, “Am I living the life I want?” and taking the appropriate steps toward realignment.

Permission to Be Imperfect

During transitional periods, it’s easy to get down on yourself. You might compare yourself to how you “used to be” or feel behind when you see others seemingly handling life’s curveballs with more grace. But nobody has it all figured out, and growth is rarely a picture-perfect process. Remember to give yourself some kindness.

Rebuilding a sense of self after a storm takes time. There are days you’ll feel strong and others where you just want to hide from the world. That’s okay. It’s human to have moments of weakness. It’s more about the overall direction you’re moving in and not the speed at which you’re traveling.

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