In my English Lit. class, our current unit was introduced talking about human nature, identifiers, self-identity, and the psychology behind who we are. It really impacted me and made me think, more than I was expecting. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about identity during our discussions. I was talking to my friend who writes and runs The NKnighton Post , about our discussions, and he suggested writing a post about it. I took him up on it, hoping that I could learn even more, and share with y’all what I learned.
To start, a little bit about identity.
“What is IDENTITY?”
Our class defined it as: who you are and how people see you; how you define yourself. The true definition of identity is: the fact of being a who or what a person or thing is.
“Who gets to tells us who we are or who we are not?”
Everyone has an input to who we are, our parents set the boundaries for our lives, rules govern us, social norms tell us how to act. We are surrounded by people trying to tell us how to act and live our lives, but it is no ones place to tell us who to be. They can influence you, but it’ll always be your choice. We all have the moral agency to live how we want. We can disobey those who govern us, we can break a norm, we can be ourselves, and there will be consequences, both good and bad, but it’s still our choice of who we get to be.
“Are all labels (identifiers) correct?”
First impressions give us a pretty good guess of who someone is, but it’s a guess and will never be 100% accurate. You have to take the time to get to know someone, understand their situation, ideals, personality, motivators, etc. before you can rightly identify them. Guesses and stereotypes can be wrong. For example, I am a cheerleader, so sometimes people who only ever see me in my uniform could except me to be shallow, petty, selfish, and annoying, when in reality, I am a book nerd, blog, try to think about others, and don’t actually fit into the cheerleader stereotype, it’s just a hobby I enjoy. Don’t let the moment define the person.
“What happens when we don’t have an identity?”
When you don’t have a sense of identity you lose your sense of self. You don’t have any drive to do anything. You rely on everyone else to tell you who you are and what to do. You start adapting whatever everyone else does, and never grow into your own person. Having a sense of self is important, which means we need to have identifiers and an identity.
More important than a general identity is self-identity. Having a sense of who you are, and why you do what you do, before worrying about what the world thinks of you. Building that strong foundation of self, so when people criticize you, you can take it the right way. When someone criticizes you, and they hurt you, you need to be strong enough in your self-identity to focus on that criticism. Figure out why they are giving it to you, and how you can use it to better yourself. This is something I have recently struggled with. When I was criticized, I got defensive, instead of looking for how I could use it to better myself, I threw up my defenses and hurt people I was close to. I am sorry that I hurt them, because I was not willing to take their criticism. Criticism is good, for it helps our self-identity grow, so we can better ourselves. I learned a lot about self-identity, and how we can use self-identity to our self-benefit.
“Are we biased about ourselves?”
Yes, we are extremely biased to ourselves, we are the rightest thing we know. We have a set opinion about ourselves, how we want to act, behave, how we want to be seen, and when people try to tell us who we are, we are biased about it. We assume they know nothing of us and our situation, that may be true to an extent, but we can still learn and grow from their criticism. We can’t let our biases prevent us from becoming the best person we can.
“Do you think that other people would give you a more honest or a more fake reality of yourself?”
I believe that this entirely depends on the person, and how close they are to you. If it’s someone close to you, they will tell you the truth whether you want to hear it or not, because they want to help become better. It is our choice whether we listen or not, but we always need to take into consideration that they thought it was more important to tell you that than protect your feelings, so take time to think about what they’ve told you when something like this happens. If the person is not close to you, and just wants to be your friend, they are more likely to put up with it, and give you a fake reality, and protect your feelings. It is important to tell people the honest reality, if they are in the wrong and unaware of it they might need you to open their eyes. It may be hard for a while, it might hurt for a while, but in the long run you’ll become a better person.
This is just some thoughts I had, look for more posts on this coming soon!