1. A lot of who you are is who others think you are.
Whether we like it or not, a good deal of who we are is a matter of who others think we are. It is real because it has real consequences.
- What others think of me (perception is a reality)
- What I think of myself (whether my self-perception is "accurate" or not)
- What God thinks of me - P.S. This is who I truly am and it no doubt includes all the complexity of this post and more. At root, he considers me to be created in his image, which makes me immensely valuable.
- We are more than animals, but we are animals. We have drives and urges. Much of what we call our sinful nature relates to our animal drives gone amok.
- groups I didn't choose - A person does not generally choose to be Irish or female, yet these group memberships are part of our default identity.
- default self-concept - By default, we start with a sense of ourselves that intrinsically relates to our genetics and environment
- self-concept by choice (who we decide to be, despite our default self-concept)
- decision for/against God (and what God does to me in response) - From a Christian perspective, this aspect of my choice is most determinative of who I am, not least because God changes us in response to our choice for him.
- my choices, actions, patterns of behavior - These relate to the previous one. Probably more than any other factor, our choices in the face of all the forces around us indicate who we are. They are embodiments of the attitudes we choose to embrace.