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My Inner Identification

An identity is what defines us and sets us apart from others. Inner identification is something that has been taught and dissected over the years by religious, self help and psychoanalytic groups. The importance of identifying ourselves is taking up centre stage in the recent times. People may be entrepreneurs, fighters, creators or dreamers. And me, I am still thinking.

As observed in “In Search of Self in India and Japan” (1988), by Alan Roland, there is not as much pressure to identify oneself as a strictly individual entity here in the east. The plasticity of personal identity as molded by our cultural and societal demands led me to answer the question, ‘who are you?’ with different responses over the years.

I gave my name when I was a kid, my occupation, when I grew up and didn’t know any better, and later, I answered with a character sketch that I thought, defined me. Put that way, I would identify first as a girl, but, is that is something that comes from having a certain physical form. Then I would identify as a person who is outgoing, stubborn, afraid of failure and has a trace of low self esteem. These too, cannot define me as they are conclusions drawn from how I respond to different situations. A set of likes and dislikes do make me unique, but these too keep changing with new experiences. This boils down to the fact that identities need to change. This realization occurred when, a usually confident speaker, I became hesitant after a public breakdown during an address.

When does identity take form? As babies, we are just a physiological apparatus with no personality whatsoever. Growing up, we start taking in the world we see, as what we like and what we do not. This could be where the initial stirrings of an identity begin. Much like the growth of the physical body, which happens by food intake, the inner identity too seems to develop from an intake of facts, experiences and cultural influences. To accept and enforce it as identification would be as appropriate as being defined by our body weight. Comprehending this clears up a lot of identity conflicts.

With this understanding, I would identify myself as a person with certain tendencies and an awareness that these change with time and events. And along the line, I also discovered another identity of mine, I am a thinker.

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