What is Identity?

We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.”
Andre Berthiaume


Identity is more than just our given name. Identity is much more complex than that.

Identity from group or community: We can be part of a wider national identity, or a more local regional or village identity.

Each time we say we belong to one of those groups we identify with them and adopt some of the behaviors and beliefs of the wider group. Some of these groups that we are a part of are in conflict with each other, so even on the level of these most basic external circumstances, it can be difficult to come up with a definitive identity of who we are.

Identity through roles:  We may define ourselves through roles that we play. Mother, father, husband or wife. Son, daughter, friend or even enemy..

Work related identity:  Pilot, priest, artist, photographer, scientist or soldier.

Ethnic identity: The realization that a person’s thoughts, perceptions, feelings and behaviors are consistent with those of other members of the same ethnic group. Ethnic identity recognizes that a person belongs to a particular group that shares not only ethnicity but common cultural practices.

Identity is more complex than the above. It may help to categorize into broad areas, but these separate facets become mixed, and sometimes even conflict with each other.

Our identity is more than the generalized identity of the groups we are part of and more that what we do, how we behave and the roles that we adopt.

Our identity is who we ARE not what we DO.

Personal Identity is how a person sees herself/himself in relation to those around them; it what makes them unique.