Identity Crisis: What Shapes Your Identity

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Your Identity is your most valuable possession, protect it (Elastic Girl). Once in our lifetime, we ask ourselves this question that is difficult to answer. Who are we? What makes up my personality? These type of self-questions make us think about ourselves. Knowing our identity can have many benefits. It can help us be happier, have an awareness of our surroundings, and have great self-control. To discover ourselves is a gift that not many people have, and we should cherish it. Though we can discover our identity, we can also create our own identity. “People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself, but the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates”(Szasz). Many things influence our identity, no matter where we go, and many factors shape our identity. 

The key factors are religion, family, society, and culture. Religion can greatly shape our identity. When we belong to a religion, we focus on God and participate in the actions of our religions. Religion can influence the way we act and think. An example of this is “The Rich Brother,” by Tobias Wolff. In the essay, Douglas tries to find the meaning of life through spiritual experiences. This creates a burden to Douglas’ brother, Pete, who is a materialist. Pete does not understand why Douglas’ lives his life in a certain way that Pete is not familiar with. Douglas life revolves around his religion and his personal well being to become a good person. Many other people who are in religion also revolve their lives and change their lives to follow what they believe. The new Pew Research Center’s study of the ways religion influences the daily lives of Americans finds that people who are highly religious are more engaged with their extended families, more likely to volunteer, more involved in their communities and generally happier with the way things are going in their lives. (Smith) Therefore, religion affects everyday life, and it also affects our identity. Family may also deeply influence our identity. 

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When we are young, we are just like a sponge, soaking up knowledge of our own environment easily. For example, in the book, The Hate U Give, Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds – the poor, mostly black neighborhood where she lives and the wealthy, mostly white prep school that she attends (Thomas). Hailey, one of Starr’s best friend, makes racist remarks claiming that they are a joke, but later in the story, the reader can infer that Hailey’s father may be racist. Hailey grew up with her father’s remarks, and Hailey thinks it is a joke, but it does offend people. She does not see the wrong in her jokes because she grew up thinking that those types of jokes are okay. Family can also influence for good, too. For example, if there is a great person in a family who we look up to, we tend to try to act like them, and that can make us a better person. Family is one of the most important things in our lives, and they can teach us many things in our lives. Therefore, families build our character and influence our identity. Society can also shape our identity for better or for worse. People tend to adapt to their surroundings to fit in with the people around them. This can influence the way we act, talk, and our choices. 

Society categorizes everyone into categories, and many people follow their category, but some can dare not to be labeled and break away from what society tries to make us. It arranges us into social groups. Every time we change our environment, we adapt to the environment as well. For example, teens act a certain way at home, a certain way at school, and a certain way with friends. Spcitry, which is us as humans, control what is normal and what is not. As stated, we change our own selves to adapt to our surroundings, and our surroundings or our society changes our identity. Culture is defined as the language, belief, values, norms, behaviors, and even material objects that categorizes a group and are passed from one generation to the next. Our understanding of our own cultural identity develops from birth and is shaped by the values and attitudes prevalent at home and the surroundings, noting that the cultural identity, in its essence, relates to our need to belong. We compare other cultures to our own which gives a sense of realization to values that we have. “Sociology, A Down-To-Earth Reproach” states, “culture becomes the lens through which we perceive and evaluate what is going on around us” (Henslin) Therefore, culture shapes our identity, giving us an awareness of ourself, and we can use our reflections to change our identity. Others would say these factors may not apply to some individuals. For example, society might not be an influence on someone’s identity. There are many strong individuals who do not let society push them around. Another example is family. We might have a bad family in our lives or no family at all. 

We can think completely different from them, and sadly, we can become apart from them. Though some might argue that there are other important factors that can influence a person’s identity, like a person’s experiences. We all live our lives in different ways. None of us have the same lives and people take situations. No matter how big or small the experience is, that one moment can change an individuals’ identity. To conclude, many factors can change our identity for better or for worse, like our religion, family, and our surroundings. For some of us, it hard is to understand who we are. Many people, teens, and adults are searching for themselves. We engage in self-care to become one with ourselves. Though many factors influence our identity, in the end, we choose our own identity. 

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