Who are you? And who told you that?
We all learned to be who we are. We were taught by our parents, teacher and friends who used a complex system of language, social cues, rewards, punishments and symbols. You've probably heard terms used in psychology and sociology to describe this process. Operant conditioning, attachment theory, object relations, primary socialization, psychosexual development...etc. These terms and their related theories seek to understand how you became you.
However, who you are isn't just the end result of a theoretical equation. Through the process of individualization, we start to develop a unique sense of self, which often conflicts with the "self" that we were told to be. This amazing process can last a lifetime, but when our ideas about ourselves conflict with what we were taught, things can get tricky.
People often seek therapy for help with conflicts of identity. These conflicts can involve intergenerational tension, crises of faith or religion, gender identity, sexuality, parenting, employment and careers, and the challenges of being a young adult, among others.