Who are “You”? really?
There is a version of you that you hold so dearly and you really think everyone sees you exactly how you see yourself but the truth is a different version of you exists in the mind of everyone that knows you.
The person you think of “as yourself” exists only for you and no one else. The people you meet, “see” you from their own individual point of view. When you have things in common with other people you tend to hold on to them and this tends to be beneficial for all parties involved. To further understand who we are we first need to understand how groups work and how they determine who we are as individuals.
Group Identity – 3 reasons why
- The first reason is the fact that engaging in similar types of behaviors and activities with other people can give you a sense of security, confidence and more importantly, a sense of belonging to a particular type of group or class. In other words, we encourage ourselves and those around us a particular set of principles, values and “rules” to follow. We do this because we believe that our way of doing things or living is the only right way and those who see or do things differently are wrong.
- The second reason and perhaps a very controversial one is the fact that one group will praise itself but demonize other groups who don’t share similar values. Here are a few examples: science vs religion, democrats vs republicans, nerds vs jocks and so on. These are very bold examples but don’t let that fool you because there are many subtle ways we differentiate ourselves from others and we do this every day because of something called “Identity” or “I”. Whenever we decide that we like something, automatically we dislike or disagree with its opposite.
- Survival. In order to understand the concept of survival, we need to understand how it works. A simple example can be smokers vs non-smokers, in order to be part of the same group you follow the same rule, you smoke or you don’t and this is how you “survive” in the same category. A group, in order to survive, it’s members need to follow the same set of rules or have the same sets of values otherwise the group would not exist ( survive ). the more “active members” the group has, the more control it tends to have over certain aspects. There are of course individuals that jump from one group to another but in this case, they are minorities and without getting in too many details, we need to understand that minorities exist in most scenarios and we can take religion as an example: Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism are classed as the main 3 religions by Wikipedia and of course you have minorities…
Group Identity & Personal Identity
If we look into our personal lives we may find out the fact that we belong to an astonishing number of groups of people and we act and behave in certain ways just to remain part of those same groups. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, to what media we are consuming all of these things tell a story about us. We call these personal preferences but do we mean by personal preferences? In some cases, we learn certain behaviors from our parents and friends but in other cases, we chose certain products because there is a certain prestige attached to owning a product from a high-end brand. Most people buy the latest iphone for example because they want to make a statement and not because they really need the latest performance ( if any ) upgrade. Some people are also loyal to different brands and they are ready to challenge you if you try to prove to them that a different brand is better.
I hope I made a really good point on how attachment to different entities/groups creates certain behaviors and ways of life. We also need to understand that this just the outer-shell of who we are as individuals. individuality is, in fact, a set of rules and behaviors, lessons, situations we have come in to contact with up to this point. The funniest thing about this is the fact that a lot of our beliefs and behaviors that we defend are not even our own but we really like to think they are.
If you have made it this far I believe that you will agree with me when I say that it is impossible to find or define yourself because after you peel back all of the layers that define you, you will find what I can only describe as “an empty canvas”. Don’t paint the same picture every day, you will find life boring this way 🙂