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Our Relationship with Others Help Us to Define Who We Are

In: English and Literature

Submitted By delpas1004
Words 707
Pages 3
Context Prompt: Our relationships with others help us to define who we are.

Our identity is what we perceive ourselves to be as well as how others view us. One’s identity is therefore an essential element in defining themselves. For that reason, it is especially important that we are comfortable with our identity. As individuals, people have unique characteristics and personalities as well as belonging to groups that influence such factors as their lives go on. Although great emphasis is put on creating ones identity alone, a number of factors such as ones appearance, society, environment, religion and race can shape our identities thus help us to define who we are. It is also believed that our genetic makeup has a large role in determining who we are.

Our identity can be considerably shaped by our appearance. Physical appearance is the first, and often most important, and most lasting impression others get of us. Society will create different assumptions about others based on simple factors such as ones fashion and ones physical qualities. As a result, many will adjust their identities to be accepted by society. For example, people tailoring their personal appearance to fit what they want others to see them as. An individual who dresses very formally is likely to want others to view them as high class or wealthy. Although, factors such as height and skin colour cannot be so easily altered and depends on ones genetics. The effects of appearance on our identity can be seen in ‘Skin’, where Sandra, despite being born into a white family, inherits black genes. As a result of this, she finds a connection with those of the same skin colour.

Often, the environment in which we are raised, and the people we are surrounded by can help us to define who we are. I believe that my identity and personality was and continues to be deeply influenced by my environment and that the most influential people in my life are my parents. I have been unconsciously influenced from a young age by my parents who have taught me their beliefs and raised me with theirs morals and their understanding of good from bad. In some ways, this could have pre-determined my future identity. However, over the years, outside factors such as school and friends have also impacted on and helped shape me into whom I am today.

Religion can also influence our identity. It has an effect on how we think and what we do in life. For some people, religion is not a choice but something that is expressed and taught to them from the moment they are born. It influences our values and beliefs, which are both vital factors in shaping our identity. Whatever religion it may be, will help mold our sense of self and create different values and morals that we uphold throughout our lives. As a result, people may believe things that, if not for their religion, they would not have believed before.

In contrast, research has been done presenting the idea that our genetics define who we are. It is believed that to a large extent, who we are and how we behave is a result of our genetic makeup. While genes do not determine behaviour, it is presumed that they play a role in what we do and why we do it. It is difficult to determine whether genetics ("nature") or the environment ("nurture") have a stronger influence on behavior, and it is largely believed that human behavior is an intricate result of both. For example, a preference for a particular food could be genetically based, it could be because you ate it growing up, or it could be a combination of both.

Our identity is constantly changing and being influenced by external factors. Elements such as our appearance, the image that society portrays of us, our environment, friends, family and our own set of moral beliefs and values all help us to define who we are. Many aspects can control and define who we are as individual human species although we have the ability to choose which aspects we allow to affect and form our identity and ensure that we are truly comfortable with who we are.

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