Category Archives: Identity

How to Find, Understand, Construct, Who You Are

Find yourself: Philosophically, identity is born out of details pertaining to the same identity and descriptions of details pertaining to the same identity.  What this means is that your identity is formed out of what exists.  If you were never born and you never existed, then you have no identity.  If you’re born, then all the details associated with your birth are now a part of your identity.  As you grow up, you have life experiences which add more details to your identity.  As you interact with others, you generate more details and descriptions of details, all of which comprise your identity.  That was a long winded way of saying you create your identity by having details, and you have details by living life.  If you stay at home all day and do nothing, or every day you do precisely the exact same routine, then your identity is unchanging.  It is only when you add a detail that you grow your identity.  If you find that you don’t have an identity, it means you haven’t accumulated enough details yet, so go out and live life: that’s how you find out who you are.  (Dangerous cycle: depression -> doing nothing -> actually having no life -> feeling like no life -> depression.)

When you start, all experiences may seem foreign to you: it is difficult to distinguish between when you are acting according to what everyone else is doing, and when you are expressing yourself.  When you try something new, you can either give yourself fully to the activity and act exactly as everyone else expects you to act, so that you can get the full experience of what that kind of identity is like, or you can restrain yourself to different degrees of what you are comfortable with doing.  Anything works.

When you reflect upon your own life and it’s details, that’s how you come to understand who you are.  As you look back, you’ll see where you were willing to compromise, and where you stood your ground: those locations define who you are.

When you try to change and influence your future behavior, that’s how you construct who you are.  (The Habits You Will Form in Life)

Nature of Your Own Identity

Who am I?

To find out when more Life Education Curriculum is released, subscribe on the side! Follow on Twitter, on Facebook, on Google+, on Tumblr.  Please share your comments to this post below.

Self Awareness in Relationships

What do you bring to the table?  This is typically an uncomfortable thing to think about or discuss, but at the end of the day you are always bringing something to the table, whether intentionally or not, and you should be aware of what you’re bringing.  Be comprehensive in your answer to this question: include both the good and the bad.  (One thing to watch out for is leeching: try to give more than you take when possible).

Who am I to others?  This is one of the most important skills to have, and one of the most difficult skills to learn.  This is important because you are rarely who you think you are to others–you might think you are being nice, but other people might think you’re mean due to differences in values, interpretation, perception, etc.  One way to get an idea of who you are to others is to ask for honest [anonymous] feedback.  Another way is to replay your interactions with others, and imagine what you would think if you saw yourself behaving and acting the way you did.  (Explaining may sound like complaining, constructive criticism may sound like insults, etc.)

Responsibility.  Always take responsibility for what you can. You are responsible for who you are, you are not responsible for how people react to who you are, but you should take their feedback into consideration.  I used to think people didn’t like me because they were bad people, but when I become more self aware, I realized I was being a bad person without knowing I was.  Turns out people had legitimate reasons not to like me.  Don’t blame others, take responsibility. If people react unexpectedly to something you do, either you don’t understand that person well enough to predict how they will respond, or you are not presenting yourself in the way that you think you are.

Don’t Be Self-Centered.  While you should take responsibility for yourself, don’t go too far: if someone acts differently towards you, don’t be so quick to immediately blame yourself.  People have lives outside of their interactions with you, so avoid falling into self blame, guilt, etc.  Instead, emphasize with them by trying to see things from their point of view–what might be going on to cause them to act differently.  Maybe when they made a face when they saw you, they just ate something sour, rather than they really don’t like you.  (Read Nature of Your Own Identity)

To find out when more Life Education Curriculum is released, subscribe on the side! Follow on Twitter, on Facebook, on Google+, on Tumblr.  Please share your comments to this post below.

 

Nature of Your Own Identity

Identity is complicated.  It is influenced by many factors, here are a few:

  • Your past, present, and future.  The important take away from this is to recognize that who you are today is who you are in the present: don’t let an identity from your past linger in your present reality, and don’t mistake your future potential for your present reality.
  • Reality and imagination.  There’s who you really are, and who you think you are or want to be.  Be honest with yourself about this so that details are clear instead of confusing.
  • Actions and Intentions.  There’s the interpretation of your actions (you pushed Bob), and the intention behind said action (to save him from being hit by a rock).   Are you what you do, or what you intend to do?  This leads us to
  • Judgment, perception, and impression.  Everyone judges differently, and the kind of judgment varies by context.  In a math class, you’re judged on math ability; in basketball, you’re judged in basketball ability.  Pushing Bob from a legal perception may be judged as Physical Abuse, but the impression given to Bob’s parent’s may be that it was a heroic action.  However, if change the story to say that Bob is pushed into a wall, then questions are raised about whether you were trying to save Bob from being hit by the rock or whether you were trying to harm him with the wall.  This example is given to illustrate how complicated actions can get, how difficult judging the truth can be, and how different the conclusions drawn can be depending on perception and impression.  
    • Three tools used to navigate judgment and identity are Statistics, Timescale, and Context.  Statistics is used to measure how likely an event is: If you are kind to Bob 99/100 times, then you were probably trying to help him.  If you are unkind to Bob 99/100 times, then you were probably trying to harm him.  Timescale comes in to describe the data set used for your statistics.  If I see you being unkind to Bob 99/100 times while you’re 7 years old, not see you for 60 years, and then see you being kind to Bob 2/2 times when you’re 67 years old, I can presume that even though the statistics show you’re more often unkind than kind to Bob, you have probably changed identities from mean to nice to Bob.  Or I can say that because the 99 instances of you being unkind to Bob was spread out over 60 years, your kindness at age 67 was probably the exception to the rule.  Context is used to bring understanding into the picture: I can understand that a 7 year old has maturity than a 67 year old, so I can understand the difference in behavior and perceived identity, and realize that the unkindness was just a phase.
  • Age.  As shown in the Bob example above, a person can change from harmful to kind.  In fact, nearly all aspects of a person change with age: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, material possessions, abilities, etc..  As such, no-one’s identity is constant: if you think you know someone today, unless you keep up with them, you probably know them less well a few years later.  However, for some people, there are core aspects of them that don’t change–that’s the first indicator of who that person is: what identity do they preserve and keep constant, whether voluntarily or involuntarily.
  • External details and Internal details.  External details may change–body will change with age.  Not all external details change–if someone is a passionate collector of Pokemon cards, certain aspects of the collection will never change.  Internal details may change–someone can go from having a great memory for Sports Teams, to having difficulty remembering what game is on TV.  Not all internal details change–someone will always enjoy watching sports, even as the memory fades.
  • Experiences. You can learn about who you are by placing yourself in new surroundings and seeing how you respond–since it is a new surrounding, there is no default response to hide behind, so you are bound to reveal who you are deep down. Furthermore, as you experience different ranges of things, you’ll find the range you are comfortable with, and where you draw those lines are where you find who you are.  How you compromise also reflects who you are.
    • Whatever we experience, social skills and cultural awareness guide us to “act” in ways that are “appropriate” for the situation.  On one hand, “When in Rome, do as Romans do” will allow you to gain the full experience if you’re trying to embrace local culture, but on the other hand, there is a lack of authenticity in such an act if it is not a reflection of who you truly are.  Genuineness comes when we tone down the characters and polite manners we have, and speak heart to heart about the core values and beliefs that make up who we are.

Who am I?

To find out when more Life Education Curriculum is released, subscribe on the side! Follow on Twitter, on Facebook, on Google+, on Tumblr.  Please share your comments to this post below.