FROM the time a person is born, one is already a human because of the faculties such as intellect, free-will, and conscience given to him/her. He/She is now complete in his/her being-ness but with regards to his/her identity as a person he/she is just beginning to form it.
We are all introduced to the world as infants. There is similarity and equality in this form except on the aspect of physical features where others are born with disabilities. Yet it is the moment of our birth where we commence to formulate our identities as human beings.
Looking closely, people notice our uniqueness in our physical features. Our features as infants may reflect similarities from our parents but it is apparent that we have a distinct face different from the billions of people in the world. We are products of our parents’ genetic combination, the product of our mother’s food intakes during her pregnancy, and the product of her emotional stability during this pregnancy which is primarily affected by her relationship with her environment, first and foremost, the family.
The forming of our identity officially begins in infancy. It starts with how our mother nurse us or bottle feed us. How she carries us in her arms and talk to us in our silence affect our way of perceiving the world. We cry many times in our childhood and our families and relatives have variety of ways reacting to this calls. Their reactions and responses add up greatly in forming our identity because these first interactions give us, the babies, ideas how to deal with others. They will try to calm us and make us laugh. They will soon find out that we stop crying when we are carried or when we are given milk. They will further realize that we laugh when we see them making funny faces while other babies laugh when they are tickled. Our identity is slowly taking its form.
Our initial environment shapes a great part of our identity. Our parents will have different ways of raising us. This is the primary factor of our uniqueness and the primary shaper of our identity. We may learn to operate cellular phones at an early age because our parents have the capacity to buy one or our parents just want to pacify us instantly so they give us gadgets. Our parents may not be working so we stay with them all day and night enjoying an unlimited milk either from mother’s breast or from the bottle. This two situations present the difference in upbringing us.
As we grow older, we meet more and more people. We come to know relatives who are talkative and loud and as a result so we learn to talk much. Other babies may remain timid and shy because their parents hardly go out. We meet cousins and family friends who have different personalities and so we are introduced to another way of life. We are exposed. While doing these other children may be busy learning their abc’s and 123’s. When these toddlers meet, others prefer to stay outside and play while others choose to cling to their mothers’ hand. By the time we are six years old, people have an idea of our identity.
Our identity will continue to take its form as our environment expands. There is the time when we go to the school and experience for the first time how it feels being left behind with people who are not part of our immediate family. We make simple decisions and we may be relieved or disappointed with them depending on the consequences. We make friends. We make best friends and learn to understand there are people who cannot be our friends. We learn what we like and what we do not. We experience sadness and happiness, learn the things that people do not generally like. We enter adolescence and the world is beginning to be in our grasp. By this time, others and perhaps we, ourselves, have already a sketch of our identity and people can somehow describe who we are.
As we enter adulthood, we begin to give meaning to our experiences and to the different things happening around us. Unlike before when we let others tell us the meaning of this things, this time, we bank on our intellect and emotions to give meanings to them. Our uniqueness is apparent. We have our own way of solving problems. We have a different way of expressing ourselves. We comment on things we do not like. There we are, among other individuals, yet our individuality is very much evident.
Our environment contribute greatly in shaping who we are. Part of our initial identity is the product how our environment, especially our family and neighborhood, formed us in our younger years. Once we mature in thinking and grow in wisdom, it is expected that we either make changes or maintain how we were molded to solidify our identity. Either we did something or not, we created an identity. The only question is what kind of identity have we and our environment created for ourselves? What have they done to us? What have we done to ourselves? Who are we?