Identity. What is identity? One will say that it is the distinct personality of an individual. Others will say that identity is the behavior of a person in response to their surrounding environment. At certain points of time, some people search for their identity in order to understand their existence in life. In regards, identity is shaped into an individual through the social trials of life that involve family and peers, the religious beliefs by the practice of certain faiths, and cultural awareness through family history and traditions. These are what shape the identity of an individual.
In today’s world, society creates an impact on human life. More of an impact can be seen among family and peers. They can be found at home, work, and school. At home with family, identity can be created on the difference of having one parent, divorced or separated parents, no parents, abusive parents, or even negligent parents. For example, children who grow up without a father or mother figure tend to become more independent at an early stage. Another example is where certain experiences within the family such as constantly witnessing parents argue can cause one’s identity to be confined and distant.
But, some people shape their identity similar to their parents. Such as a son became a soldier in the army because his father was in the army. Siblings, if any, are also an influence on the social identity of a person. They either become your friend, mentor, or your responsibility. A person may have a close bond with their sibling and be influenced by their identity, or not be, and have an opposite identity than their sibling. Work creates an identity for a person also. Whether its promotions to a higher position or being unsatisfied and distraught with their job.
People who enjoy their job and work environment will create more of a confident identity compared to someone who does not will have an un-motivated identity. School has an impact as well when it comes to identity. It is where a children, adolescents, and adults are influenced by acquiring knowledge and constantly being surrounded by peers. Through school, memberships in friendship groups, cliques, or \”crews\” helps build an identity apart from their relationship to parents. However, over-identification with a clannish group that rejects anyone who looks or acts different can limit personal growth.
Religion plays a part in a person’s identity structure. It is the search of what one calls faith in one’s self and the worship of either one supreme being or numerous beings. But religion comes in different formalities. There are those who were raised practicing their religion, those who were influenced and converted, and those who were brainwashed. People who practice a certain religion will more likely raise their children under that same religion. Being raised practicing a religion creates the virtues and morals for that person’s identity from an early stage.
It helps parents create a sense of direction and inflict the core values their children need. Some people have no religion and end up finding themselves searching for faith. They ask themselves questions such as, \”who created us? \” Why are we here? \” \”Is there an after-life? \” By doing so, they find a religion suitable for them and begin another shaping in their identity. Forced attitude changing, also known as being brainwashed is known through involvement in cults. Cults can have total control over a person’s identity.
In this age of time, religious cults have been known to brainwash people to the point where an individual loses their identity because someone has total control over their environment. Though religion may have its controversies, its main trait is to have peace in a person’s identity. In our diverse society, cultural awareness among people has been an important factor in identity. This is found through family history and cultural traditions. By tracing their family history, shaping an identity won’t be difficult.
This includes knowing what your family’s country of origin is and how they arrived in this country. Through cultural traditions, one can create cultural pride within their identity. Keeping traditions and passing them to the next generation helps shape their identity as well also. But too much cultural pride can cause one to be ethnocentric, placing one’s own group or race at the center. Traditions can also include the food a person eats, the language a person speaks, and the laws or moral values you obey. Culture awareness is a major factor in shaping identity.
Shaping identity is done through family and peers, religious beliefs, and culture awareness. Through society, people can find their identity through their relationship with their family at home, work, and school. Other identities are shaped through the practices of religions, whether they are raised through practice, converted, or brainwashed. Also, through culture, identity can be defined by tracing family history and cultural traditions. People who search for identity can find it in life where it already exists.