Cheers To Twenty Five

Knowing identity.

Zainab Atanda
8 min readMay 31, 2021
I was looking into my future, don’t mind me. Lol….

I am sure you are familiar with these popular phrases “know who you are,” “be self-aware,” “know what you are here for,” and so on. You won’t believe that I misunderstood these phrases for a long time. I thought it was all about knowing my parents, and my family background. *Lol*

You can’t blame a girl; people only say these things. They never tell you how.

Let me share a bit about myself, so you don’t think I am one dead girl who couldn’t have known better. *hahaha…*

I am easygoing: You know those types of people that you never see in the midst of chaos. The set of humans that prefer serenity over anything else. Yea, that’s my category.

I am curious: I question things. My curiosity could have killed me in my younger days. Adulting got a better grip of that, and I also met Google.*Smiles*

I love to learn: You can put me in the category of bookworms but that won’t be correct. I am not as bookish as before, but my quest for knowledge is still intact. To me, one can learn anything once the mind is set. *No impossibilities here…Lol*

I can write for Africa: *Lol..* I love to document, taking notes is my specialty, and yes I do have a diary. *Lol…* So it shouldn’t be surprising that I am now a copywriter. *winks*

The Journey so far

The subheading looks like I have been around for 50 years…*Lol…25 isn’t a small feat too though.*

I have experienced a bit of this journey called life, and though it is a short trip, you can’t tell when the bus will stop moving. One major reality that keeps me in check is the death of loved ones. It reminds me of how unpredictable life is and why it is important to live and not breeze through.

To live life is to create impact, no matter how small, and to fulfill God’s given purpose here on earth. This might look cliché, and it doesn’t mean I have everything figured out. But, discovering purpose is of utmost importance, it changes everything for real. There is one route to go about it, which is knowing your identity. That is, becoming self-aware.

How Do You Become Self-Aware?

I am sharing this based on experience. * The journey to 25 was insightful and I choose to document it because it might help someone out there*. No one told me how, and this is me doing better. Remember, these are practical steps, they helped me and I know it will help you too.

First, you need to know that self-awareness is a continuous process, there is no start date nor is there an end date. *Won’t it be funny if there was an end date?*

Some became self-aware through their background, environment, family, education, etc. While some need to be a bit more intentional. Self-awareness changes things, it comes with packages like self-confidence, self-esteem, and so on.

Let’s get into it.

  1. Build a closer relationship with God: I know you didn’t expect this, but it is the biggest factor and *it would be unfair to leave it out*. If you believe that God created you, then you should also believe that he knows you better than anyone.

No one creates something without a reason. Apple created iPhones for a reason, which is clearly visible to all of us now. It is the same for humans. God created every human for a purpose and we can also spot people that are living in purpose already. They excel in all they do, they flourish effortlessly, they do great and mighty things. The brighter side of this analogy is that we have greater advantage than an iphone, because an iphone cannot ask its maker “ What did you create me for?” but we can always ask our creator.

We both know how serious you can be when you meet someone you like and you want more from the relationship, you become committed and available, right? That is exactly how you should approach God, know him more than Sunday services. Being in church doesn’t mean you are in Christ and being in christ simplifies things. So, if you want to know who you are, start from knowing God on a personal level. When you become God-aware, then you are on your way to being self-aware.

2. Be open-minded: If you are not interested, no one can force you. To all those who still say “ that’s my nature”, “that’s who I am”, quit deceiving yourself. People can change, nothing is constant. The journey to self-discovery stretches you out of your comfort zone, you have to be willing to try new things, accept new ideas, and make new friends. Do not be quick to dismiss every chance to change, especially if it is to make you a better person. Even in your relationship with God, a closed mind cannot hear God. * That is, You can’t hear God if your mind is not open*. So set your mind to explore, it might be hard at first, but it’ll get better as time goes on.

3. Expose yourself: Ignorance is a big disease, and in this 21st century, there is no excuse not to know. Everything is at arm’s reach now. Exposure involves seeing new things, and to be honest, travelling helps. Visit new places, see diverse cultures, feed your eyes, this helps to feed your mind, and enables you to dream far and wide. I also understand that not everyone can afford travelling expenses, * I have left Lagos only once, and you would laugh at me if I tell you where I went… Lol*. This is why you need to leverage what you have. We have books. Please start reading books if you haven’t started. Books take you to places you’ve never been, books show you the mind of others, and you are able to learn from them. The internet is also a good source of exposure, use it well. Enrol for courses, be intentional about pages you follow on social media, engage with their content, and learn.

These are few books I recommend: Seven habits of highly effective people, Atomic habits, Man’s search for meaning, How will you measure your life, The Obstacle is the way, Think like a monk, As a man thinketh, and The subtle art of not giving a fuck. They are life changing books. * You can take my word to the bank.*

4. Define your values: This isn’t as difficult as it always looks. You only need to sit down, get a pen, and a note. Google is accessible anytime, utilize it. Check out the different examples of values online and jot down the ones that resonate with you. You can also write down answers to questions like “What inspires you?”, “How would you like to be remembered for?”, “What do you enjoy doing?”, “What can you never compromise on?’ Check through your answers, you would see your values staring right back. Common examples of values are integrity, compassion, commitment, family, excellence, and so on.

Defining your values helps you make better decisions. When life comes with its problems, it will be easier to take a stance, because you already know what you stand for. If you are all about integrity, for example, it will be easier to reject ideas that don’t conform with you. Values make decision-making seamless, and on the journey of self-awareness, there would be a lot of decisions to make.

5. Be determined to do the work:

It is one thing to know these things, it is another to actually do it. Nothing changes if you don’t do anything. Whether you are slow or fast, it doesn’t matter, as long as you don’t remain on a spot.*Are you wondering what to do?* Let’s recap, first, make a decision to know God more and be serious about it. Then, be ready to do whatever he tells you to do, and this requires you to be open-minded. The next thing is to be intentional about learning, read books and accept change. Then, you need to write down your values and stick to them.*

Why You Need To Be Certain Of your Identity

Imagine having a friend who doesn’t know his name, doesn’t know his parents, doesn’t know where he comes from, or what his capabilities are, what do you think will become of him? Of course, he will be tossed to and fro, he will be misguided, he will be manipulated, he will be stuck. Though things might work out for him in the end, it would be a very tough journey.

This is why identity is important. Identity guides you, it gives you clarity, it helps shut out distractions. It comes with a wave of inner peace and a sense of self-worth. Once identity is known, your purpose is easily discovered.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

How Do You know You Are On The Right Path?

  1. You are now asking questions: Gabby, one of my LinkedIn friends said this and I quote her verbatim “Not everyone is bothered about these kind of things *many people don’t question the status quo* but for the fact that you are having so many thoughts in your head means you actually want to stand for something.” And that is a good thing.
  2. You are trying out things: So you are not only asking questions, but you are also exploring and doing. This is growth because it means your mindset has changed.
  3. You feel peace: There is a peace you enjoy when you are on the right path, even when things are uncertain, even when you haven’t discovered purpose. Your mind is still sane, this is why adding God to the journey is important.
  4. You have a new circle of friends: This doesn’t necessarily mean that you would lose old friends, not at all. But as you grow, your relationship horizon widens. This is a beautiful way to know that you are on the right path, you meet new people, you are involved in new conversations, and so on.
  5. God matters to you now more than ever: You enjoy everything that has God in it, you enjoy his presence, and look forward to more. *Then you are doing well……Lol*

So that’s it about identity. Remember that, discovering purpose isn’t an herculean task once you are in alignment with the creator.

Trust me to share more as I learn.

I hope this is as helpful to you as it was to me. Be intentional and you would see the results you seek.

You can always send me a message, I am sure you know that already.

I am open to your opinions and contributions too. * Winks*

Happy New Month In Advance