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One of the questions that we all ponder upon once in a while is “Who am I?”, “What is my identity?”
While these and many other questions often cross our thoughts, we reflect upon them for a bit and move on with our everyday chores. But these are profound questions and their answers lie within us. Specially in today’s times, when children and adults alike are exposed to varied cultures, the self and environment has far reaching effects on self identity and personality.
Think for a moment all the roles that you play during a single day–A child or a parent, a girl or a boy, a man or a woman, a sibling, a daughter or a son, a student or an employee…the list goes on. If you spend ten minutes with a pen and paper and write down all the roles that you have, the list will be a really long one. Together these constitute the self–the most important one amongst these. That you are a person. You have a Self, an Identity which shapes your thoughts, perceptions, the way you experience situations and other stimuli around you. Personhood is preoccupied with one’s rights and duties while personality is the perception of an individual on the outside, reflecting the traits of that individual and personhood.
In most literature surrounding Indian Psychology and its concepts, we talk about Self as a subject-the ‘I’ and Self as an object called -the “Me”. It becomes important to distinguish between the two and understand the ‘pure ego’ state. Together, all the thoughts, that one can think of constitute the part of empirical ‘Me’ or the self as an object, while the self as subject ‘I’ experiences these thoughts. Every individual has the capacity and possibility of empowerment in the task of self-transformation. The Indian thought towards self, identity and personality, suggests systematic ways of self transformation by selectively dropping off many of the superficial and transient things that one comes across to love and believe in their lives.
Personal Identity refers to the self largely based on representations of the perceiver as an individual person; the self is personal in focus, describes the ‘I’ and ‘Me’ and includes personality traits and individual attributes. It refers to the notion of self as an individual’s special personal identity, based on personal differences from others (Tyler, Kramer, John, 2014).
Thus, the Self (I and Me), the personhood, ego state and self identity are arrays on a single spectrum. Self Identity is a person’s conception and expression of self. Self identity is a complex idea that not only constitutes the different roles that one plays, but also one’s own perceptions, thoughts and feelings. As one comes closer to clarity towards self identity, one realizes the true potential and the possibilities that lie ahead. This in true terms in the achievement of the ultimate answer of the question “Who am I?”