Identity is the sense of who one is, or knowledge of who one is. Identity is your persona. Your personal identity is how you see, feel and think about yourself. It can be said to be the unique collection of opinions about yourself and the world you carry around with you. This identity is always with you; its woven into your personality. Even if you decide to change environment by moving to a different state, country or culture and have a complete change of life, your identity will be very slow to change.
As you grow through childhood and adolescence your ability to make decisions, to evaluate situations, to make relationships, even to communicate with people around you expand. The ways in which you learn to respond to opportunities, pressures and difficulties that come your way becomes a full blend of attitudes, habits and opinions which together make up your personal identity. And this identity becomes combined with genetic attributes you inherited from your parents. Your personal sense of identity may include harmless attitude such as “I’m not that athletic” or “ I’m mot the out-going type”, as well as opinions that make you feel stuck such as “I’m lazy”. And these labels are often unintentionally perpetuated by other people – by friends or close relatives who brand you as “smart”, “lazy” or “strong-willed”. You cannot avoid this accumulation of beliefs about yourself – we all have them.
HOW YOUR IDENTITY AFFECTS YOUR LIFE
The main reason for looking at your deep-seated views of yourself is that they are closely connected to how much choice you feel you have in your life. Let’s say example, if you have frequently been criticized for being careless, this may have been solidified into an attitude of the mind, which says that you are careless. But the reality may be that, just like anyone else, you drop or loose things from time to time. An attitude or opinion that convinces you that you are careless rules out the possibility of change, so that becoming dextrous will be a choice that won’t seem open to you. If you can identify any aspect of your personality which may be counter productive in this way, you can begin to do something about them. But if you are unaware that you are running around with a rich mix of self-defeating attitude, then you are likely to continue to fell undermined.
The second reason for looking at your identity is to demystify some of the beliefs that surround it. For example is identity fixed? Can it change? The answer is it can change, overtime. As the world changes around you and you respond as best as you can, there will be unavoidably be times when the identity you have accumulated up to that point fails to match new opportunities and you find yourself having to change. This is a common and essential phase of human development. Going to a new school, reaching the age of puberty, leaving home to become independent, starting a new job, becoming a parent and so on involves some level of re-shaping of personal identity.