The concept of Identity is an amalgamation of diverse factors that are not inbuilt when an individual is born but is garnered as one progresses towards the journey called life. A mix of negative, positive, biological, behavioral, ethnic, nurture and nature-oriented factors contribute in bits and parts which help compose the overall identity of an individual. Psychologists, social and behavioral scientists spend years in unlocking the complex identities that certain people harbor in order to understand human dynamics better. This becomes particularly sinister as well as important for serial killers and psychopaths whose true motive and intention can be understood through their identity evaluation, incorporation into the self, of the connotations and expectations associated with the role they assume and performance of heinous acts they commit. The final product of Identity formation is continuous and not static and upon introspection, we find that it is not limited to one-dimensional insightful quality when examined for reflection but rather multifaceted. The overall of this paper will investigate the impact of social identity, nature vs. nurture, ethnicity, and culture as well as the challenges that help shape one’s self or personal identity.
The inception of biological changes that occur during the pre-adolescent period brings forth the development of cognitive and thinking skills, reasoning capabilities, understanding of changing societal expectations and needs, norms, traditions and cultures to abide by, the restrictions that follow form solid foundations for identity creation which only adds on as one progresses. A child does not develop the necessary cognitive ability to answer rhetorical questions such as ‘Who am I now?’ ‘Who was I before?’ ‘Who will I become?’ in a contentious and reflective manner (Tatum 1). Answering such questions require self-reflection, decision making on the importance of their life choice with understanding how difficult the world outside their shell can be. To know the answer to such questions we need a group that we belong to. The events, opportunities based on disposition, interest, and abilities, both positive and negative help define make identity choices. Group identification is part of the identity formation process which most of us starting to be defined by the family, belief, and culture which means people who were with us since we been born. Then we take part in their identity and go on finding groups with identity similar to ours. In the work of Burke and Stets (1999) showed that when different but interrelated role behaviors and meanings are negotiated so that role identities are verified, a strong attachment to the group develops. Many of the different groups have different interests and more time we spend with those people more we become influenced and become like them. This basically forces us to find a specific identity because of a group that came our way.
However, others wherein they are forced to convince themselves that they are different in order to mold their identity rather than being stereotyped. One such example is that of Imani Vandenberk, an individual from the LGBTQ community, who wishes and waits her whole life for the perfect price reiterating through her poem stating, “she wishes for the perfect guy to come” (Vandenberk). Despite her waits which prolongs to years, she is unhappy and unsatisfied reiterating her true happiness isn’t confined in the script she is meant to follow the script because “[she] was born in a different story”. A story where her love is a ‘she’.
The basis for self-esteem is usually the result of observation and observation of parents and guardians. However, as life begins to unfold, people begin to discover their unique features and begin to create new behaviors. Some people only define their role as a family and their own. The understanding of himself and himself is about identifying himself. A person can increase his / her ability to prepare for the future by identifying the limited beliefs created by adolescents. Understanding yourself is a blessing that can prevent yourself from understanding.
Societal norms and the historical movements set the limits for individual choice which prelude to their identity formation; making identity-related choices easy and others virtually intolerable. For example, although intermarriage between LGTBQ members is allowed in developed countries such as USA and Australia, traditionalist countries in Asia are more authoritarian which would then force individuals to conform to the bouts of the society or face imprisonment. Conforming is the only solution which gives them an identity that is not truly theirs.
Social Identity deals with intergroup relations and the ability to systematically connect and relate to other individuals. It gives one a sense of connectivity that forms the basis of human civilization. Everyone wants to fit in and everyone needs a group to be part of something and for their identity to come from. The identity that we get from our group then we make choice of profession, choosing our romantic partner, our belief and value-system which encircle upon other community factors thereby laying a base of identity formation which swells progressively throughout one’s lifetime. Whatever group we are in after good amount of time we feel a huge attraction because we share interests with them and it becomes our identity so even if their status is relatively low there are fewer chances they will leave the group. For example, social identity researchers have found that individuals who identify with the group feel a strong attraction to the group as a whole independent of individual attachments within the group(Hogg and Hardie 1992).
When we are close with the group that we are defined by we feel more comfortable with them then the outside of the group. Events, opportunities based on disposition, interest, and abilities, both positive and negative help define make identity choices. Even when we leave that group we will take our identity with us therefore there will still be some type of connection to them because the time we were with them we developed our identity and it makes it hard for us to leave our group so if we separate from the group that we got our identity from we will find similar group to it and take in the interests from the new group while having our own as well. However, as a mechanism of self-identity exploration, individuals often find solace in external roles, activities, and groups which connect to their character, choice and value system rather than the traditional normative ones they grow up in. In order to fit in, individuals try to match their behavior to the standards relevant to the social identity, so as to approve and augment their social identification with the group which in turn contributes to maintenance and enhancement of self-esteem, self-knowledge, a self-consistency , self- efficacy and an uncertainty reduction motive (Stets & Burke 232). All these contribute to the formation of self and social identity.
Finally, another aspect that contributes towards the formation of identity include the mechanisms of “nature” and “nurture” in the upbringing of an individual. The nature-oriented difference occurs between sexes which gives men and women the biological differences which make them distinct. Nurture on the other hand are socialization product that occurs based on culture, tradition, and ideology that in turn have a huge impact on the development of social identity. It is what gives men the dominant, powerful and reliant status and women, the submissive, subjugated and weak status. Nurture amplifies nature through self-organization especially in children thereby placing a continuity cycle for future identity creation (Hofstede et. al 12). The importance of emergent patterns of conduct as well as identity in modifying differences due to both nature and nurture, both of which have a huge impact on Social identity (Hofstede et. al 14)