Discovering Identity Through Various Influences in Personal Experiences

Discovering Identity Through Various Influences in Personal Experiences

Different people discover their identity in various ways through influences in their lives and personal experiences. Nancy Mairs for example identifies herself as a cripple stating “I choose this word to name me” (231). Another writer, Shelby Steele, characterizes himself as a “black professional” (366). However, all of these descriptions refer to the out ward appearance. Identity is extensively more that a person’s physique. It also includes personal values such as faith and character. Some people find their identity in their religion by following the set of moral codes. Others discover their identity in doing good works and helping others. Philanthropy and spirituality are not given to an individual. These actions, however, do contribute to the formation of a person’s identity. A person chooses to pursue a giving lifestyle, therefore choosing his identity and this “is where creation was begun” (Momaday 265). Consequently an identity is created, not given.

Discovering one’s identity is a process. As a person grows and matures, their identity takes a journey, molding and remolding into the person the want to become. When children are young, their parents instill basic values in them to direct them on what their parents believe to be the “right path”. Beliefs such as stay in school, don’t lie, never cheat, and always stay true to yourself are coerced into young minds. As they grow up, these children get to decide whether they will adopt these standards or adapt them in a way that works better for them as an individual. Life offers many opportunities to individuals and they choose how to react to them. It’s these situations that allow young people to take values modeled for them and decided whether or not they want to apply them to their lives. Once a decision is reached, it develops yet another aspect of a young person’s identity.

An identity comes to life when an individual creates it, not when a person is born. Through influences and experiences, one will choose to live by certain values that they’ve either adapted or adopted for their personal lifestyle. Believing that one is given their identity is like something out of a science fiction novel such as The Giver. There isn’t a man in the world who gives each person their job, spouse, children, or lifestyle, all the aspects of one’s identity. We don’t live in a predetermined society. We are all given a mind to choose our identities.