What is Personal Identity

personal identity

My thoughts on personal identity have nothing to do with Western Philosophy or esoteric theories. While being an observer of life, I notice that human beings in general are either passive or aggressive.

Like dogs, the instinct to dominate and bully is very common. In this scenario, those of us who are passive tend to be pushed around. Take a moment to “see” that when kids play, they always tend to have a leader and the rest follow. If there is more than one dominant personality there will be a fall out and separation of the group.

At home and work it’s the same where adults are concerned—bullies are everywhere. Rarely will you come across a couple who have struggled (pulled and pushed) and finally found an equilibrium. It’s funny but my mother used to say that after years of being together, couples tend to look and be similar—in speech and action.

Funnily enough after 32 years of being married I seem to have picked up unconsciously many behaviors from my hubby. When I think about it I feel so silly.

Love . . . but don’t erase personal identity

Very often love is so powerful and the need to please overwhelming, that either of the partners in a relationship may adjust to the extent that all personal identity “choices” may just be erased.

For instance a wife may like cultural activities and cinema and the husband the outdoors—which is the case in my life. It is impossible to get my husband to come to a movie. I go to the movies with my sister while he stays at home.

It is important to have a personal identity. Try and strike a balance. A truly successful relationship must have give and take not just sacrifice on the part of one partner. If you like Chinese food and the family likes steak, make sure they respect your choice too.

Every once in a while the family could eat Chinese. In order to make a success of the relationship try to develop respect and understanding of one another’s individuality and choices.

It’s sad when one partner just gives in to the dominant one and lives a life of adjustment. Often bottled up resentments will after sometime detonate like a bomb and then picking up the pieces is near to impossible.

Thirty, maybe forty years ago, couples tolerated one another to make relationships work for the sake of family and society. Today dissent and egos lead to divorce over very small matters—my work is more important than yours, etc. Maintain your personal identity. Be firm with your loved ones—be it parents, siblings, spouse, partner, kids, or coworkers.

Respect yourself

Be it “home or work,” a team is made up of different people. It’s the “you and me that becomes us.” If you are the dominant person, try to understand the nature and needs of others. If you are passive then learn to take a stand.

Don’t let anyone (however much you love them) walk all over you. People have no respect or regard for doormats. So be firm and explain that you don’t like x, y or z and that you would appreciate some respect.

Look the person in the eye and don’t back away. Soon you will have sent the message that this is where you draw the line. Once people understand that, things will become easy. In the run-around of life make time to pursue your personal interests. Go to the theater or learn music. Travel if you like.

My cousin waited for years for her husband and kids to take her on a holiday, now she just books herself on a tour and explores the country by herself. The first time she went, her husband and kids thought she would come back half way.

Much to their surprise she came back after a fortnight and had already put her name down for the next tour. She found independence after forty years of being a wife and mother.

Live a full life

Love or respect for others should not strangle you as an individual. So have healthy relationships with people without losing the real you—your personal identity. Strike a balance and you will find you are admired and respected as a person.

In case you are the kind who dominates learn to step back and allow others to breathe. Take a moment to put yourself in their shoes. Nurture happiness and life will be full of surprises.


About the Author

Ahendita is an experienced writer and editor with over 30 years work experience. She has authored books, magazine articles, web content, e-books, and promotional materials.

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