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Understanding the Self: Distinguishing Identity from Personality

Understanding the Self: Distinguishing Identity from Personality

Many may think that the phrases “identity” and “personality” can be interchangeable, however, there’s a huge distinction between the two.

There are personalities that people show publicly, but their real identity is kept a secret and that will be revealed when you begin to get to know them better.

Your personality is the way you define yourself. It is the way you express yourself, how funny you are feeling, and the way you respond in various situations. This is who you really are. Identity refers to the characteristics that distinguish you from other people, and which make you distinctive. It also entails self-determination and self-esteem. This is how you view yourself as well as the lens through that you see others.

To help you understand the difference in these words, I’ve gathered information about these topics.

What is our identity?

Our identity is formed by what decisions we make. They are the result of both external and internal factors and things such as appearance, self-expression, interests, family/friends/coworkers, and life experiences. 

When considering identity, it is simpler to focus on how you’re relating with self-esteem as well as self-image and personal identity. The aspects that are considered include:

  1. Racial or gender identity
  2. Religion
  3. Ethnicity
  4. Occupation

It may even go beyond role-related behavior.

Also, the likes and personality traits, dislikes or capabilities, and an underlying belief system can help in creating your unique and distinct persona.

What is a personality?

Personality is a collection of all the traits (behavioral emotional, temperamental and mental) that define their individuality. Your personality isn’t you. Your personality is the way you conduct yourself. You can alter your personality throughout your lifetime.

Consider your identity as the root of who you really are. Think of your persona as branches and leaves that can be replaced or shed in the course of time. Your personality may change, it might shed, bloom, or mature. Personality is the seeds that can be growing but are basically the same.

How do we develop personalities?

Personalities develop based on many factors; they’re generally recognized and consistent, which can influence our behavior and actions. Personality is not only about behavior but also encompasses relationships feelings, thoughts, and interactions.

Personality is a more personal way of being. When considering your personality, consider the notions of thinking, feeling, or acting/behaving. It also influences the way someone behaves or interacts with others.

The concept of personality has been suggested to evolve and change throughout our lives. It can be acquired and passed down through the generations. Personality type can play an important role in other areas of life including dealing with stress and overall health.

Human behavior, which includes both personality and identity has always been interesting to us. This will continue to grow as well as a fascination with the tests of personality and theory.

For more information about this talk, quickly view this video:

Identity Vs. Personality

What makes up our identity?

Your identity is authentic and made up of the things that drive you and your values, core values, and your philosophy. It’s what you’re doing both legally and physically. Think ethnicity, sexual preference, gender, etc.

We are able to build our identity in positive ways. An excellent illustration could be Willie Turner, a teenage criminal who was convicted of murder and placed on death row. While on death row, Willie Turner had a major change in his identity. From a depressed, hopeless, and extremely acting out teenager member of the gang to one who was a mentor, lead instructor, advisor, and teacher to other teens in gangs.

He assisted teenagers in breaking from gangs and developing new identities. He was aware of the damage that he did when he was a teen and decided to improve himself and become an example of change. Unfortunately, despite all the positive things he accomplished in his life, he was imprisoned.

Identity is formed by our experiences, both good and ill. Achieving a positive self-image is a major task. It’s a lifetime’s work, but when the goal of creating a positive image is set, the identity will continue to grow and develop along that path.

Personality VS Identity

Personality and identity are two distinct aspects. Personality is the way that someone views their self. For some, it is fluctuating and changes over time; for others, the identity they’ve is permanent and stable.

One could identify to their cultural background as an Italian or consider themselves transgender in their gender self-identification.

Identity can be based on cultural or gender expression, family, ethnicity, work, or even any aspect of the person we are. Some people identify as pet lovers, while another person could identify as an animal lovers. The identity of a person can be easily altered.

People with personalities are something that one must work hard to alter. A person with an egocentric personality will naturally be self-centered, have an inclination to blame others, and may have difficulty understanding.

A person with narcissistic personality characteristics can consult a therapist to develop empathy skills that allow them to emotionally validate their family members and begin to alter their character in a better way.

A person’s personality could be gentle, kind or compassionate, bold funny, friendly, or even playful. The way we present ourselves can be influenced by the circumstances or the environment.

Our personalities can be used to accomplish various goals in our lives like a job interview where you are exaggerating your strengths.

Personality is fluid and can affect our loved ones and friends in positive and negative ways.

If someone has a stronger personality, it may be difficult to be able to affect them which makes it difficult to be with them. Sometimes, it is necessary to have someone in our lives who is more direct in their persona and more focused on leadership.

How do we identify people?

According to analysts of culture studying human behavior, the following categories help in identifying people:

  1. Gender
  2. Class
  3. Context
  4. Age
  5. Ethnicity
A women holding the slogan of
Identification Is A Form of Social Construction

Examples are female, educated, urban middle-aged, with European ancestry, English speaker, and most likely upper-middle-class.

It is how you are perceived by others by the various categories recognized. It also determines if you’re perceived as dominating (relatively strong) and are a part of an upwardly-mobile profession (professional).

What is a persona?

Persona is the Image
Persona Is the Image

Your persona is the image you project to the world, your manner of presenting yourself, and how you set the mood or stir up emotions and convince others. It’s your expression, communication, and delivery method for your message.

Your personality displays qualities like being playful, bubbly or funny, and sarcastic. You can also be serious, serious, or even stoic. It’s fluid, flexible, and adaptable.

You are able to alter your character anytime at any given moment, by changing your thoughts, mood, and attitude, or by developing a brand-new identity. A good personality can be strong, influential captivating, transformative, and attractive. Bad personalities can be deceiving, offensive, and off-putting.

Whatever the outcome, good or bad they both convey a message So make sure that your persona is sending your message in the way you would like the world to hear about you.

Identity and personality both are essential to one another Your identity is the foundation of you, and your personality draws people, sparks curiosity, and can influence the kind of life you want to live.

When someone asks, “tell me about yourself,” what would you respond?

Coaches are my profession.I am married to my wife.
Gardening is my passion.I am an active volunteer
I’m an auntI’m a Sister.
I’m womanI’m your friend
I’m very kind.I’m funny
I’m resilientI’m strong
I’m drivenI’m driven
I’m not sane.I’m stubborn
Responses of people after being asked who they are.

What a weird moment we live in, where we’ve lost who and who we really are. Did you ask anyone “tell me about yourself,” and they replied with their title as a job? We’ve somehow been able to create a culture where our job title is now our identity.

Your identity is your most important aspect–what society or you have classified you. It’s usually what you would like to be perceived. Your personal identity is what is displayed to the left of your name. But is that really the person you really are? Is it simply what you do? What kinds of labels do you have within your own life? I’m not saying having a personal identity is bad, however, is it all?

Your persona can make you different and unique! It’s your ability to laugh, your level of vulnerability, determination, and motivation. All of it.

What if we placed more emphasis on them rather than our identities? What could we do if we intertwined them in a more meaningful way? Instead of just an identity label, you were able to combine the two. When someone tells me that I’m funny, or amazing as well as resilient or odd, I respond, “Thank you.”Thank you for looking at the real me. one that suits you. Include your personal touch to it.


The subject of personality and identity is essential for better understanding the way you behave, your habits, and your needs. However, the two are not the same thing.

Personality and identity are two fascinating concepts. The line between them is a bit unclear. The meanings of both are different in relation to psychological and social factors. However, if we look at this from the psychological point of view, the personality forms an integral part of our identity.

To read more, check out our article on The Difference Between Companionship & Relationship.

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