“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is You-er than You.”

-Dr. Seuss

Many times people define themselves and others based on looks, beliefs, abilities, political views, sexual orientation, family, financial status or relationships. While each of these can impact your identity and how you relate to the world around you, it's important to remember that there is not just one thing that defines who you are. Instead, our identities are a collection of all the above.

Each of us are special and unique individuals. No matter how close you are with others, no one will ever look, think, feel, or act just like you. As a result, not everyone will always understand or agree with your beliefs or points of view.

For instance, you may make a change in your appearance to reflect the way you identify or to be gender-neutral, express a controversial viewpoint, or choose to practice a new religion. Understand and be prepared for others around you to be reluctant to accept changes that you make. Sometimes we have to be patient, sit back, and allow others time to adjust.

Your personal beliefs will become a road map for your life. And just like a road map, you may start out in one direction and change paths as you move through your life. Don't feel that you have to make concrete decisions now about your life's direction, or feel pressure to align your beliefs with what is currently popular.

Give yourself time (months or years in some cases) to evaluate your thoughts and feelings before you make permanent decisions. Your viewpoints may stay the same --or they may change as you discover new information, are presented with different perspectives, or as you go through various life experiences.

Struggling with these issues can make you feel insecure and anxious. The more you evaluate yourself and your feelings over time, the more answers you will start to find. Find someone trustworthy that you can talk to; someone who will be supportive but will allow you to come up with your own conclusions about your choices. Don't put pressure on yourself to be what others want you to be or to determine today what you will be in the future.

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