Identity Achievement


Well-known member
Hi, I haven't been here in a while. Thought I'd share some thoughts. The older I get, the more wisdom I have and the more I realize how much more destructive social anxiety can be compared to what I initially thought when I was in my teens and early 20s. Lately, while trying to find what my own identity is, I came upon something in psychology called "Identity achievement". Here's a short definition of it:

The definition of identity achievement isn't a difficult concept to grasp. It simply refers to having found one's true sense of self. It is a key element of personality development and a process that begins in childhood, most notably in the tween and teen years, and ends in adulthood.

I highly recommend anyone to search more about it on Google or YouTube, it's really interesting. Anyway, the reason I'm talking about this is because that at 30 years old, I've realized that I have no idea who I am. I can spend hours and hours thinking about what I want to do with my life, only to not find any satisfying or motivating answers. Normally, someone goes through that period in their teenage years. Through friendships, clics, activities and romantic relationships, teenagers slowly discover who they are and what they want to be in life. If you're able to pinpoint what kind of person you want to be and are motivated to do the things that are necessary in order to achieve that, then you can say that your identity is achieved.

Because of social anxiety, I didn't have a normal adolescence. The friends that I had in school were not really friends, more like acquaintances. I didn't share any interests with them and never met them outside of school. I never left my house other than to go to school. I didn't have weekend or summer jobs and I never talked to girls. Hell, I barely talked to anyone. I was living in my own mind, in my own imaginary world. I didn't think about the future, about myself. I would just go home, do my homework, play video games and watch anime. And school... I never really put any effort into it. I had okay grades, but I definitely had the intelligence to get much better. I didn't have anything to motivate me, no goals in life, because I had no identity, and therefore didn't put any effort in anything. And that's how I pretty much spent my 20s also.

I'm sure there are other people here who were or are like me. What do you guys think? Has social anxiety affected you in that way as well? Maybe there are younger people here who recognize themselves in what I wrote. To you, I say: Don't make the same mistakes that I made. Work on yourself, take care of your mental health, do your research, and you'll see that you'll be a happier person in the long run. It's much better to do that in your teens and 20s than at 30 years old.
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Well-known member
Yes, that rings true. I decided I mostly like solitude in primary school.

People have affected me all my life, I developed social anxiety probably in high school, although I really only recognised it as a condition in my early 40s.

Now in my 50s I realise my true nature is solitary and I am looking forward to a break from people when I retire.

I like the way I am, I am happiest in my own company most of the time. I have had goals and achieved, although my goals are not the stereotypical ones most have.

I like the way things have turned out, I am independent and able to pursue the dreams I have.


Well-known member
I like the way I am, I am happiest in my own company most of the time. I have had goals and achieved, although my goals are not the stereotypical ones most have.

I like the way things have turned out, I am independent and able to pursue the dreams I have.

Sounds like you're in a good place. I hope I can talk about myself the same way one day.
I totally agree with what you said to warn others who are still young, Newtype, "Don't make the same mistakes that I made"

Having SA can eat away at your life when you are young, so that by the time you are in your 30's/40's you look back and can't stop thinking about all of the missed opportunities, the possibilities of all that you could have achieved if you only new then, what you know now.
Sadly the regret can end up eating away your heart like acid.

As Robin William's character in Dead Poets Society made famous, "Carpe diem"; "Seize the day"!
I can completely relate to you. I was way too scared to talk to people in high school, so I spent my four years without any real friends. The people that did talk to me were people that I didn't really enjoy being around.

Years later, I learned that life is much better with friends. I have spent countless days reading and studying ways to make friends, build social skills, and ultimately be comfortable around others.

And I can tell you that it paid off.

I'm much more comfortable talking to people, even strangers. I have friends and people that like me. And more importantly, I have people that I like back. If I could redo high school, I would. But what's done is done.

Newtype, I hope you find your passions in life. Something that really makes you motivated and gets you all excited. I know you will. Get out there and socialize your life away. You can't get back the past years, but you CAN enjoy the years you have left.