The way one expresses themselves and the choices that are made can be summed up into one word, identity. Whether we are born with our identity or we form it as we grow, one’s culture, choices, and opinion of themselves is identity.
One question that many people ask is whether we are born with our identity or if we can choose our own identity. Identity is created throughout the course of one’s life. Successful author and blogger Dana MrKich argued that we are born with some of our identity, but it can be changed when she stated this, “Very little if any of our identity is permanent part of us.” (Mrkich). Our identities change as we grow older and have more experiences. Part of our identity is taught to us by our parents. Although, as we grow older, we form our own beliefs and values that may be different from the ones that our parents taught us. Our identities are also formed by the choices that we make throughout the course of our life. After every decision that we make, our identity changes to that choice. Since we have free will as humans, we can form our own personal identities that are unlike any others. These choices can be as simple as what we wear, or as impactful as choosing what college to go to. It’s all these choices that really define and fine-tune our identities. Choice is a big factor into our identities because it gives us more freedom and options to be who we want to be.
Being born into a certain culture is a factor that shapes your identity. Every culture has a certain way of molding the way people think and what they can and will do in their lives. For example, growing up in an religious culture, values can be taught that show you the difference between right and wrong, like how loving everyone unconditionally is good. This gives you a perspective on how to view the world, who to be friends with, and how to act. Environment also helps shape our identities. For example, growing up in a community where education is important can be the difference in identities of someone who grew up in a community where those values are not taught. Growing up in a community where education is important can make you a harder worker and give you a better chance at success in education and life. Children who are raised in families that do not value education may choose to obtain employment as soon as possible. Another reason that our culture and community are important to our identity is because most of our morals and values are inherited from our parents, “Simply believing something because our parents or teachers did assumes they were right, and if they made the same assumption about their parent’s and teachers, when exactly did someone sit down and consider the alternatives?” (Berkun). Culture helps a person form their individualized identity.
A person’s opinion of themselves also shapes their identity. For example, “those who think that they are wise choose smart choices. And the others, who think they are more myopic, choose pleasure over practicality.” (Chanot). Another great example of how one’s opinion of oneself affects their identity is the difference in the two Wes Moores. The author Wes Moore had a positive look at himself from going to military school for a couple of years. This gave him morals and values that helped teach him right and wrong and set him on the right path. After examining how identity is formed and all the factors that create it, we know that everyone has a different identity and it is the many factors such as our culture, choices, and opinion of ourselves that make it unique.