A person’s life is made up of an impossibly unique combination of moments, interactions, and relationships, all of which amalgamate to create a human with an identity unlike any other in the world. When looking at a person’s life up close, it almost appears as if their identity is something that has been relatively constant throughout their life, however, if a person’s life is looked at a through a more holistic perspective, it’s easier to see how specific events, people, and relationships in their life made them who they are today. For this assignment, I was tasked with conducting in-depth interviews pertaining to life experiences and identities with another member of the class. Through the interview process, hidden sentiments arose, truths were revealed, and I had the opportunity to see the different ways in which my identity was formed. In analyzing these interviews, I found that through using the works of influential identity theorists, Daniel J. Canary, Michael J. Cody, Valerie L. Manusov, Jan E. Stets, and Peter J. Burke, I was able to dissect my interview and correlate specific instances of my past to aspects of my current identity, specifically my independent, self-assured, and open-minded disposition.
To begin with, let’s take a step back and think about people. How do we think? What drives us? Every individual has their own identity. Their own beliefs they have adopted, certain people they cherish, heirlooms or expensive acquisitions they treasure. Each has goals to aspire to, and needs that must be met.
Feeling empathy and concern for others became a natural part of my personality. I became more sensitive to other people's emotional needs and states and became more accepting of myself and others. Identifying specific thinking patterns, which greatly stymied me from accomplishing certain goals and limited me was a new discovery .
Interactions between people are never ending. The effects of one conversation could affect the outcome of that person’s life, consequently changing their identity completely. There comes a time, though, when dealing with others confident in their identities, where one must ask themselves the personal question of “who am I?”. No matter if you’ve just stumbled upon this question, in the process of discovering the answer, consistently changing your answer, or confident in your answer, the people around you are the ones you have to thank for molding your personal identity.
Each individual possesses an identity that makes him or her unique in their own special way. This identity is considered a marker that helps define and shape the person, even as they develop by means of age or wisdom. In addition to that, various factors, such as ethnicity, gender, religion, language, or culture, contribute to establishing one’s identity. Although each identity is different, Andrew Solomon acknowledges another difference amongst one’s identity. This difference depends on whether someone encompasses a horizontal identity or a vertical identity.
“We are not born knowing who we are or what our place is in the social landscape; we learn to be American or Japanese, male or female, husband or wife, or Amy, Richard, Micheal, Rachel, or Rebecca.” Our identities are constructed by this “social landscape”. The social construction of identity takes place by living life through first hand experiences and through certain social circumstances. Amartya Sen says,” Classification is certainely cheap, but identity is not. More interestingly, whether a particular classification can plausibly generate a sense of identity or not must depend on the social circumstances.” Identity is a complex matter but can be defined in simple terms. It is who you are. Your personality, the way you act in response to
While reading the article, “The Complexity of Identity: “Who Am I?” the text provoked a lot of thought provoking questions and dialogue. The text itself stated how the “looking glass self” is not a flat one – dimensional reflection, but multidimensional.” (page 9) I thought it was really vital to keep this in mind, while looking at my own identity and others. I think it is important to understand this when stereotypes come into a situation; because not everyone has a story and a reason for being and behaving in a way.
This experience may seem small and insignificant to some, but it meant the world to me. Through those many sleepless nights, I was able to connect with some amazing people and help an endangered species. I became more self aware and compassionate towards others. I believe these skills will benefit me immensely for the entirety of my life.
Throughout our lives, we experience situations that can undoubtedly challenge our lives. These experiences can have outcomes that are not in our favor, but teach us crucial lessons. In my case, almost a year ago I lost someone who unquestionably had a vast impact on my life. My uncle Sal was taken from me unexpectedly. That day took a major toll on myself and my entire family. However, such an event served as the gate for me to see they type of person I am.
There are many Teachable Moments in life. Some are to be considered small and simple while others can be a touch more hard to stomach. I still remember, quite vividly and somewhat unfortunately, the afternoon from which I learned two different lessons created by the same experience.