Steps to Take to Find Your Identity

There are no set rules about gender identity, but if you’re currently in a state of gender questioning, there are steps you can take to help you explore your feelings about yourself and your gender. 

You should never feel pressured to choose a label. Instead, give yourself a chance to consider your identity and accept it within yourself so you can feel confident as you begin to outwardly express your gender.

“Just as you would for a friend, it’s important to have some self-compassion in the process. It can be a place of ambivalence and confusion in understanding your own terms, but considering that you deserve self-respect, advocacy, and support might be some first steps towards clarity for yourself, your identity, and what you want to present and express to the world.”

Talkspace therapist Elizabeth Keohan, LCSW-C, LICSW, LCSW.

Pay attention to the images you connect with

When you look at pictures of others, what kind of images resonate with you? Are you drawn to certain things where people express themselves in a specific way? Pay close attention to any positive or negative feelings you experience as you come across visual images throughout your day. 

Imagine your ideal self

If you had the power to transform yourself, how would you want to look? Use your imagination and try to envision an ideal version of yourself. What would this identity wear? How would their hair be styled? What would people call them?

No matter what you picture, this fictional version of yourself doesn’t have to be a fantasy. If an imagined self-identity doesn’t match up with how you currently express yourself, you can begin to reinvent your image however you’re comfortable. 

Let yourself experiment 

Gender questioning is normal, and it’s okay if you don’t figure out your gender identity right away. Give yourself a chance to experiment and try expressing your gender in different ways. 

You can try out a new style of clothing, start or stop wearing makeup, or ask your friends, family members, and teachers to refer to you with a different pronoun. Gender identity isn’t static, and it’s okay to change your mind as you try different things. 

Seek out supportive environments

Having support while you’re questioning your identity is essential. It can help you feel safe and more confident as you begin to express yourself in new and different ways. 

Many people find they’re very anxious when unsure of and exploring their gender identity. When you surround yourself with people who accept you, questioning your gender is less likely to become a source of anxiety. You’ll feel more comfortable trying out new things. Eventually, you’ll figure out how you really want to express yourself in a way that makes you feel like, well, you


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