Hi everyone, I'm Jordan Stevens, musician author and mental health advocate.

I'm working with the INEOS Go Humans Academy to share some of my personal experiences and challenges with identity and advice on the ways I've learned to better manage my mental health.

Hopefully, you can learn something from my sessions together, so let's get underway.

Alright, let's start with a question.

Have you ever felt trapped or misrepresented by the labels that the world places on you?

Maybe you felt like an outsider because you don't quite fit into these pre-packaged categories.

Well, that's because the reality as human beings are way more complex than labels.

Let's take gender, for example.

It's an idea that is sometimes constrained by very narrow definitions, and it's changed loads.

It's always changing.

The roles we once assigned each other are being questioned, redefined and reinterpreted, whether it's cultural, social, economic, or in our own families, we're all living through that shift, navigating the push and pull of historic views and newer understandings.

The absence of positive figures in our lives can create a void for us, especially as we develop in our own sense of self into adulthood.

This void can make us vulnerable to harmful influences in the world that do more damage than good.

And it's important to take note of this negativity.

More and more, people are wanting to take control of their identity, and it starts with acknowledgement of the influences around us.

Look, if you really want to see yourself, stop looking in the mirror and start looking at the people you love.

It's a real indicator of the energy that you're putting out into the world.

It's important to look to those who respect us, for us.

The family members who help us, the teachers who guide us, and the friends who stand by us.

These are the role models who make our lives better.

So where do we start?

Settling into your true identity is one of the most powerful things you can do.

Despite the pressures around you, collectively, we need to share honest stories and guide the people around us towards self-acceptance, a better sense of identity, and the dream of self-determination.

Here are some thoughts to get us underway.

  1. Identity Evolution. Embrace the fluidity of identity. It's okay to redefine yourself outside of what other people think of you. Our identities are not static. They change alongside our life experiences, and at the end of the day, the only person you need to live with is yourself.
  2. Positive Role Modelling. Seek out and become positive influences on the people around you. We can't control other people's perceptions, but we can control our own. Mentorship at a community level is essential. Don't be afraid to reach out. And similarly, never think your voice isn't important.
  3. Collective Momentum. Change doesn't happen in isolation. Support your friends and family's own sense of self. Be open-minded, be curious, and remain balanced. Then we've got a chance of shifting cultural pressures and expectations.

Most importantly, remember to seek professional help if you need it.

If you're struggling, don't hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional.

They can provide immediate support to help you navigate your feelings and develop a stronger sense of self.

And don't forget to continue our sessions in the link below, or join the conversation using #GoHumansAcademy and head to ineoshygienics.com for more information and mental health resources.