Think of identity formation as a developmental or evolutionary process in which you become increasingly aware of who you really are at your essence. As we start out in life, we accumulate more and more identities and we eventually become comfortable with all of our multiple identities – ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, socioeconomic class, age, language, sexual orientation, physical ability, education, occupation, and more. Then there comes a point in our evolution when we begin to wonder about how our multiple identities all fit into the whole person that we are, especially when we realize that each of these multiple identities put us on either the privileged/dominant side (whites, men, etc.) of the identity continuum or on the oppressed/subordinate side (all minorities).

This is when we might also begin to wonder, who am I really, beyond all these partial identities? Who is it that makes up who I am as a whole person? If you took a farsighted view, would you recognize what remains after these identities are gone? Is there something left of you, as your lasting identity, that might tell you who you are in both time and eternity? Tell the story of who you are after you strip away all your temporal identities. How might remembering who you are at your essence change things for you in the here and now?

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