Identity Formation

Identity is complicated. And beautiful. And messy. And important.

So much of that story starts before we’re even born. The skin we embody, the heritage passed on to us, the values and cautions, our station within society – it’s all there before we know it, giving us a set of guideposts that often act as limits on our identities and paths in life. Add to it that, beyond those immediate communities and identity groups’ values and norms, everyone lives in a larger society and a bigger world beyond that, and we are beholden to the ideas and values of those structures as well.

unique puppy messy situationAnd growing up means learning more about ourselves…

…including elements of who we are that might not fit with how we were raised and what was expected of us.

Opinions that don’t fit.
Interests that diverge from family legacy.
Experiences around belonging or being different.
Attractions or gender identity that aren’t deemed acceptable.
Physical appearance or neurodivergence that is outside of expectations.

Even seemingly smaller things, like sleep preferences or introversion/extroversion can cause a person to feel different. Individuating can be fun and exciting but can also be confusing – especially if some of what we learn about ourselves might not be well-received by the society around us.

atypical elephant doesn't fit in

Society is built for the comfort of two groups:
those in power and those who are most typical.

If some pieces of who you happen to be less powerful or outside of the norm, or both, you’ve had to navigate life with extra obstacles, steeper hills, and the burden of needing to use more energy and resources to cope when others have the privilege of a clear and easy path.

You’ve wondered if the extra effort you have had to put in to prove yourself or pursue your dreams was all in your head?

Well, the struggle is real. While it can build those tenacity muscles, it can be exhausting and lead to burnout and a desperate need to connect with others who’ve lived a similar experience.

Community is important and finding kindred spirits can be so affirming and restorative.

Sometimes, though, it can be hard to find your people.  Plus, the collective trauma of being marginalized might mean that some groups may also embody values and practices that don’t quite fit. Finding community can be especially hard if your identity feels complicated or doubly excluding, e.g., you don’t quite fit in one box or another. 

When you embody an identity that feels “in between” or is reflected back to you as “not enough” for membership and acknowledgment, it can be incredibly lonely. Even just the fear and worry about being misread, dismissed, or unseen can be painful. 

Therapy is a safe and confidential space to explore all of this without judgment – and with the unconditional support you deserve. There are communities and spaces that will feel right, and therapy is a great place to explore what’s coming up in your journey.

You CAN find solid footing on your journey of Self.

Striking a balance between collective layers of identity and the pieces that are uniquely yours might feel beyond your grasp right now, but it doesn’t have to be. Coping with the related obstacles without burning out is possible. Finding your authentic blend and a life in which you embody your whole story is within reach.

With support that celebrates YOU and honors your truth and story, tapping into your own strength and uniqueness with pride and confidence can become second nature.

In counseling, the nuanced, complicated pieces of you that haven’t felt welcome elsewhere are seen and celebrated. Together, we will uncover what belonging means to you and uncover or create a path through the pain of past rejection and loneliness. Let’s chat!

Recourse Counseling is RADICALLY AFFIRMATIVE. All the pieces of you, even those that traditional diversity structures don’t make space for, are welcome. If your race, ethnicity, heritage, generational or personal trauma history, disability, sexuality, gender, size, religion, class, place of origin, adoption status, or anything else is pulling you toward deeper exploration or is asking for support and safety to explore, please reach out and know that the whole you is welcome and embraced here.