An individual identity is a sense of belonging to a group and may include aspects of a person’s life that he/she may have no control over. Identity can either be relational, personal, social, collective, or superficial. The focus should be on identity development in which people come to develop a sense and understanding of themselves within the context of cultural demands and social norms (Brooks & Chinedu 25). Identity development is a primary developmental task of the transition from dependency to responsibility for an individual’s needs, interests, aspirations, drives, and desires in adulthood. Some psychologists believe that developmental changes occur gradually and the achievement at each level build on those of the previous levels. Beyond the basic need for a sense of control, human beings are deeply driven by their sense of identity. Identity correlates with the fundamental values that direct the decisions people make throughout their lives. Some people internalize the values of their parents or the dominant culture (Ideology and Moral Philosophy 2). However, these values may not be in line with a person’s authentic self. Identity can come from within or outside an individual, and it changes overtime due to circumstances.
Social learning theory argues one can acquire identity from parents, peers or friends indirectly. The influence of these people can affect an individual’s personality or interests (McAdams, Dan & Claudia 85). Normally, people come to define themselves in terms of how they think the society see them. For instance, if the community sees them as failures, they will come to define themselves as such. According to McLean et al., identity forms as a matching one’s talent with social roles that are available (640). This means that for a person to develop characteristics that are in line with what the community stands for, he/she must be ready to adopt the practices that define that society. In the face of the identity struggle, most people end up adopting darker identities (McLean et al. 641). It is the ultimate goal of every person in society to nurture choices that are consistent with their true-self. There is also the need to discover and develop personal potentials through the process of trial and error. This requires exposure to a wide range of activities. Talent development requires one’s willingness, skills, effort and time to endure frustration.
The psychosexual development theory suggests that unconscious motivations can influence an individual’s behavior. The thoughts and actions of a person are caused by unconscious conflicts and motives. The conflicts are centered on developing a psychological quality. According to Moss et al., when one understands his/her identity, cases of depression and anxiety diminish (7). People act in ways that can jeopardize their lives when they fail to define themselves and instead seek for help from the immediate audience. Most people have the same aspirations but lack the same abilities and opportunities. When a person fails to achieve the community’s expectations through hard work, he/she may attempt to achieve success through crime (Seiffge-Krenke 407). Commitment is a form of loyalty to values and ideologies. Typically, young people explore alternative viewpoints and select principles that best meet their values, ideals, and moral standards (Seiffge-Krenke 407). Being high on commitment enhances adjustment. At every stage of development, the potential for personal growth and failure is so high.
As young people begin to understand the difference between performance outcomes resulting from natural talent and ability and performance outcomes resulting from perseverance and hard work, they will recognize their individual differences and engage in activities that are in line with goals and objectives (Perez et al. 315). There are some people who actively search identity alternatives and have not yet committed to an identity. These people are not sure about achieving an identity and may tend to swing between compliance and defiance. However, they may try different responsibilities in a different fashion but will find it difficult deciding on a set of values, beliefs, and aspirations (Perez et al. 315). Adolescents who appear goal-oriented, yet tend to be defensive base their sense of self on the values of the family, media personalities, peers, and other role models. However, their identity commitment does not reflect the authentic expression of self or compliance with other people’s values and beliefs. They are also less likely to progress to the identity-achievement rank.
People need a clear sense of identity of who they are. Some psychologists argue that the link between an individual and other people in the society is not only indicated by the connection between how the person sees him/herself but also by the connection between what the individual wants to be and the influences and opportunities available (Strauss 19). Social constraints can prevent a person from presenting him/herself in some identity positions.
Constraints can include the perception of others. In most organizations, the management finds it necessary to render employees more receptive to institutional indications conveyed through sense giving. Workers will then utilize sense giving to construe their situated identity as they move toward the desired self (The Future of Work 210). In this regard, they will formulate identity narratives that link their present and past to the desired future allowing the management provide direction and engage them in activities that are in line with the goals of the entity.
Identity can change gradually due to circumstances. Every situation an individual encounter in life bears the potential to change him/her for the better or worse due to circumstances. For instance, if one experiences an embarrassing situation such as bullying, the person may have a thought that lowers his/her self-esteem afterward. The thought processes and patterns change which changes in behavior too. People must create a true identity by making choices that are significant. This requires a courage and commitment when faced with challenges. Our identity is constantly changing since we never stop learning new things or ideas. The modifications to an individual’s personality are inevitable (How it feels to be Colored Me 110).
People are always in control of who they are and the best thing they can do is to accept what they cannot control and work on changing what they can. There are multiple layers to an individual’s personality, and the best way to acknowledge the layers is to take note of who we are and how the circumstances are likely to change our identity.
The choices made by an individual can directly or indirectly affect him/her. However, sometimes, the identity never changes. Some people know that their current identity is less optimal than their future selves. They bear in mind that the present is flawed and the future is perpetually better. There is the need to put more emphasis on identity formation in teens which is all about developing a sense of self, personality, and connection to others. Identity development is important as it shapes a person’s perception of belonging. A positive self-identity is correlated with positive self-esteem.
Brooks, Ann K., and Chinedu Anumudu. “Identity development in personal Branding instruction: Social narratives and online brand management in a global economy.” Adult Learning 27.1 (2016): 23-29.
McAdams, Dan P., and Claudia Zapata-Gietl. “Three strands of identity development across the human life course: Reading Erik Erikson in full.” The Oxford handbook of identity development (2015): 81-94.
McLean, Kate C., et al. “Identity development in cultural context: The role of deviating from master narratives.” Journal of Personality 86.4 (2018): 631-651.
Moss, Julie M., Donna M. Gibson, and Colette T. Dollarhide. “Professional identity development: A grounded theory of transformational tasks of counselors.” Journal of Counseling & Development 92.1 (2014): 3-12.
Perez, Tony, Jennifer G. Cromley, and Avi Kaplan. “The role of identity development, values, and costs in college STEM retention.” Journal of educational psychology 106.1 (2014): 315.
Seiffge-Krenke, Inge. “Students as a prototype of emerging adults. Delayed identity development, developmental pressure, and high symptomatology.” PSYCHOTHERAPEUT 62.5 (2017): 403-409.
Strauss, Anselm L. Mirrors and masks: The search for identity. Routledge, 2017.
Theodore Roszak. Ideas Come First. How it feels to be Colored Me. Page 110
Theodore Roszak. Ideas Come First. Ideology and Moral Philosophy. Page 2
Theodore Roszak. Ideas Come First. The Future of Work. Page 210