Who Are You?


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Pink Pixelated Head Of Woman And 3D Pixels As Hair On Blue Background. 3D Illustration.

In today’s world, people can disguise themselves, spending their time hidden under layers of characters they portray. Who they are can be quizzed through Buzzfeed, analyzed on social media, defined through horoscopes, and decided by zodiac signs. It is very simple to categorize someone at first glance based on the way they present themselves, but a human is much more complex than just a first glance. What really determines who you are? Is it who people see you as? Is it who you want to be? Is it your actions? 

Scientists and psychologists have classified the persona into three categories: reputation, personality, and character. All three categories play important roles in shaping who we are through defining moments in our lives and everyday events, but which element outweighs the others in determining our nature? Throughout our experiences, all three defining categories can change, constructing our identities and influencing our interactions, with one’s reputation being the perception of an individual’s actions and behavior, personality consisting of the instinctive traits that make up an individual, and character as a guide for your actions, behavior, and core self.

Reputation is how others perceive you. This perception is based on how we choose to present ourselves, including our past actions, behavior, and looks. Often, we spend most of our time trying to perfect our image. Why? Well, because the effort to improve your image is simple, and the reward is almost always instant. Due to reputation being a measurement of general opinion, your once positive, popular image can easily be changed into a negative one, affecting every aspect of your life. For example, if your ex-best friend starts a rumor about you which damages your reputation, everyone may turn against you. 

A positive reputation can open doors for us, while a negative one can close them. Your personality, however, can help rebuild a ruined status and elongate its benefits. The basis of your personality are your unique attributes––for example, traits like introversion, conscientiousness, and charisma. Despite these individualities, people spend their time, money, and effort trying to self-improve in a continuous battle to enhance their personality and mold themselves into the “ideal” person. The mission here is to sell a particular image of ourselves, one that we think others will love. 

Personality can interact with reputation, but the one concept at the root of your moral and mental nature is character. Often overlooked, character is the distinctive qualities an individual has. In other words, it is who you really are. These qualities and principles guide a person’s behavior due to them being the foundation of how a person acts. Your nature is not just what you do and how you behave in the public eye, it is also who you are when no one is watching; are you still being the “classic you” or are you indulging in your hidden interests, the ones that are “too embarrassing” to perform in front of others? Fear of showing your enthusiasm towards something that is not seen as “cool” is holding you and your individuality from further developing as a human being, and while there is nothing wrong with fitting in, your character is individual, and should have the opportunity to stand out. Development of character is often stunted because it is the quality that no one can see or judge immediately, unlike your status and quickly learned disposition.

What really determines who you are?  Each with their own importance in shaping our nature, the elements of reputation, personality, and character blend with each other and define us. We are who we strive to be. We are our actions. We are the perception of our peers. Be comfortable with who you are, embrace it. Be yourself. Pick up your pens, and write your own story.