Identity. A word that seems so simple, yet can be so controversial.
Identity can be simply defined as the fact of being who or what a person or thing is. But in psychology, it is a little more complicated. Social identity is a person’s conception and expression of their own and others’ individuality or group affiliations.
Society has been given too much power over who we are. Society defines us by the color of our skin, the clothes on our backs, our gender, our ethnicities, etc.
The way we identify others can be used as a means of hate or love. Unfortunately, we allow words to be more hurtful than loving.
All of this because we identify ourselves by our physical appearances rather than our actions as human beings.
I will be the first to admit that it is hard not to describe people based on their looks. For instance, if I’m talking to Sally about Billy and Sally doesn’t know Billy, I am going to describe him by his looks rather than his actions.
This is a habit we should all attempt to stop. Actions are what should identify a person. If we allow these things define us then we are creating the stereotypes and inequality in society.
I would say the most disgraceful identity that society gives us is fat. Fat is not an identity.
As a personal trainer, I personally watch both men and women who are fat shamed no matter what their size, by themselves and others.
Do I want them to be healthy? Yes. But sometimes genetics gives us a little extra “junk in the trunk”.
I’ve watched people call themselves disgusting as they stepped onto the scale, allowing themselves to be defined by a number.
That number means absolutely nothing. Muscle weighs more than fat. You can weigh 200 lbs, be all muscle, and be completely healthy.
I absolutely hate the phrase “I am fat.” You may have fat, but you are not defined by your fat. In fact, every healthy person has at least some fat. It’s how your body remembers to fight disease, break down foods etc.
As a broadcast student, I am on camera all the time. I am not by any means “overweight.” But because the camera finds those angles to make anyone look bad, I have been called fat. It’s hurtful, it’s not fun, and it’s an easy way to question your own self identity.
Do not let others’ shallow views, define who you are. You are worth so much more than that.
Look for that self confidence to find your identity in your personality. Find a way to ignore people’s judgements and define yourself.
Stop giving society that power, take it back in order to be happy with who you are.
It’s time we appreciate people for their actions. Let us start a movement together by focusing more on personalities and actions rather than judging them by the way they look. This in its own will create a world with more equality and acceptance.
As Markus Zusak said, “Sometimes people are beautiful. Not in looks. Not in what they say. Just in what they are.”
After all it’s the little things people do in life that make them so enjoyable and memorable.