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Constructs Of Identity Essay

1696 words - 7 pages

Identity often refers to a sort of desperate quest or a deliberately confused search through both a mental and moral experience. However, Erikson approaches this idea as an experience that will almost be a surprise that sneaks up on one, rather than something that can be found. The process of identity formation is located in the core of an individual, and also in the core of ones communal culture. This process is ever changing and developing, but reaches a crisis during the stage of adolescence. At the earliest stage of the identity crisis there is an important need for trust in oneself and others. Adolescents, at this stage, look passionately for ideas to place faith in, and additionally, ideas, which seem worthwhile to prove trustworthy. Erikson explains, “at the same time the adolescent fears a foolish, all too trusting commitment, and will, paradoxically, express his need for faith in loud and cynical mistrust” (Erikson, p. 252). This stage of identity formation is very confusing to youth because of the pull between childhood and adulthood. The adolescent undergoes and inner struggle of whether they wish to follow certain morals and beliefs, and the fear of committing to a specific identity. The second stage establishes the necessity of being defined by what one can will freely. The adolescent is now looking for an opportunity to decide freely on one of the available or unavoidable duty and service, and is at the same time terrified of being forced to engage in activities, which may expose one to ridicule. This further adds to the confusion of adolescents and identity formation. An adolescent is torn between acting shamelessly in the eyes of his or her elders, out of free choice, than to be forced into activities that would be shameful in the eyes of his or her peers. At this time the adolescence is torn between the routines of childhood and the new incoming feelings of being accepted by their peers (Erikson, p. 252).
Adolescents can be remarkably intolerant to peers or concepts which one may view as “different”. Erikson explains that such an intolerance to something abnormal or different may be a necessary defense against a sense of self-identity loss. However, this may be unavoidable at a time of life when ones body is changing its proportions drastically, and puberty is driving the body and imagination towards new impulses. In addition to an increased interest in intimacy with the other sex, one is confronted with too many conflicting possibilities and choices. Adolescents not only help one another through such discomfort by forming cliques and stereotyping themselves, their ideals, and their enemies, but also adamantly test each other’s capacity for sustaining loyalties in the midst of inevitable conflict and values. Erikson explains that adolescence is a vital regenerator in the process of social evolution, and youth can offer loyalties and energies both to the conversation of that which continues to feel true and to...

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