Identity–Who Are You?

This is the 200th post on this blog. There are over 1100 comments over more than 4 years!

Congratulations to Writer Dave, at least for his blog longevity!

Now to the nitty-gritty of this post:

Identity defined- the characteristics determining who and what a person is and distinguishing them from others.

The Cycle– Nothingness- Birth- Life- Death- Nothingness.

The “Life” in the middle of the cycle is where we find identity.

Do we find our identity in the stages of our life?

Early Adulthood-18-45—Making major life choices- marriage, occupation and style of life.

Midlife- 45-60- Loss of youth and changes in psychology. Start to ask profound questions such as: What have I accomplished? Increased wisdom, maturity and reflection. Start to face up to personal mortality.

Late Aduthood- 60 -65- Retirement, bodily decline, forming new interests.

Old Age- 65-80- Enhance the state of being whole and unified. Make peace with yourself and your mortality.

These stages are only partially where we find our identity.

A person must know who he is. He is the “writer” and the “object” of his actions. You are the center of your own being.

How do you know: Who you are?

Your identity grows out of the interacting of three factors: The sociological, the psychological and the philosophical.

Sociological—the relationship of oneself to others and society as a whole.

Psychological—the roles of the Id, the Superego and the Ego.

Philosophical—existence – what is and is to be. Existentialism- we are free agents, responsible for our own actions.


We are in the situation of a person in a world which they never made BUT are always making.

We all experience, “Existential Anxiety”, a philosophical view of Identity.

What is that, you say.

Well, lets say we are walking in darkness and feeling various emotions, knowing that the darkness was before one lived, and that there will be darkness when one lives no longer. In between these two darks, we must live our lives, we must dare to act and we are responsible for those actions. This is the anxiety.


Understanding identity through the psychological viewpoint of the “Id”, “superego” and the “ego”, using Freud’s terms.

The “Id” is the instinctual urges of a person.

The “superego” is the commands and prohibitions of one’s parents and society, which the child takes on board.

The “ego” is the way a person orients himself toward reality.

Your personality and identity develop as a result of the interplay between the id, ego and superego.


We are in an age of disintegrating values and rapid change, which is creating instability. In the family, parental authority grows weaker and the ideals of society are undermined.

The superego’s role in forming identity is in decline. So, the ego is lacking in direction from the superego and there is now identity instability which creates stress. The forces of the id are closer to the surface of people’s personality. In this situation of stress, the individual is likely to experience an identity crisis!

So, how can we deal with this crisis?

It probably will continue because we have to live in a culture that is unstable and affords the individual little external support.

The answer is: we must distinguish the important from the trivial. We must realize that our stability and sanity depend on the extent we can find advice and help within ourselves rather than in others and to continue to indulge in critical self-questioning.

Take this idea to heart and remember:




Me and My Shadow

“I have several story ideas that are about the dark, negative side of humans. I want to learn about the “Shadow Self” so I can write about it intelligently. Where do I start?” said my writer friend over dinner.

“I, too, was interested in the “Shadow Self” for writing purposes but, in researching the subject, I got into it on a personal level also.”

We finished our meal and I ordered another bottle of wine. When our glasses were filled, I continued:

“I started my learning process by asking:

“How can I be a well-rounded writer without learning about the shadow I cast?” We all must have a dark side if we are to be a whole person. So I wanted to become conscious of my shadow.”

My friend looked perplexed. We both sipped our wine.

“I’m confused about the conscious and unconscious minds, the ego and the persona,” said the confused one.

“Well, the conscious mind comprises what we are aware of and the unconscious mind is the hidden part, what we are unaware of. The ego is your sense of worth and importance. The persona is the part of you that you show to the world.”

“Thank you for that. But what is the “shadow?”

“As I understand it, the “shadow” is the negative side of the personality, the unpleasant qualities that we would prefer to hide.”

“When I was at school, my teachers, and at home, my parents told me what to do and not to do. This instruction was to make me “domesticated”. In other words to hide my shadow, is that right?”

“You hit the nail on the head,” I laughed, “The powers that be want to tame our untamed dark side so we can become “normal” in society.”

“Wow! This is interesting stuff. How can we integrate our shadow and bring it into the light?”

“We’ve been conditioned to cast our shadow as the villain and we are the victim. With this perspective you shut down any possibility of learning anything that the dark side might offer that could open up new ways of thinking so you could know yourself more deeply. I would try to look at all your negative desires, emotions and impulses that are in your shadow and recast the shadow from villain to teacher and see what you can learn.”

“I get it, we might become more humanized through the exposure of our shadow.”

“We all have a “shadow” and you and I, as writers, want to be more creative, so we must integrate our shadow into our conscious mind and be aware of it. This makes us more creative and well-adjusted people.”

“Boy, this wine is bringing out all the answers,” my friend smiled.

We both sipped our wine and pondered our conversation.

“Now, how can we relate all this to our writing?”

My friend was silent.

“Well, we conceal many things with our “shadow” and that creates mystery. There is meaning in mystery and this needs expression. The work of the writer is to articulate what is concealed.”

“I think I’m getting the gist of this. When we writers refer to “character flaw” we are really referring to the character’s shadow.”

“Bingo! You’ve got it,” I said laughing.

“The shadow is present in the conflict and obstacles of the story. We feel the presence of “The Shadow” in that which , in the story, is hidden, unspoken, and within, but is present.”

“So, as a writer, my best friend is my “shadow”. It can inform my stories.”

“I have to go now,” I said, emptying my glass, “But in conclusion I will say:

“That to a writer, life is a battleground. Life consists of opposites, light and dark, birth and death, good and evil, happiness and misery. We are not sure which one, at any given time, will prevail. BUT IT IS ALL GRIST TO OUR MILL!”