A dynamic process
Identity is also very dynamic. Your identity develops throughout your life. The importance you attach to something may also shift. Your identity takes shape at key moments in your life.
Puberty as a boost
During puberty, you start a strong search for your own values, interests and goals. You attach great importance to the opinions of friends and often experiment with these. By trying out different styles of clothing, for example, you discover more about yourself. Or you try out different hobbies to find out where your interests lie and what relaxes you.
The transition to higher education also offers you many opportunities to further develop your identity. Choosing a course, career, partner and housing are all key moments in your identity development.
No end point
Identity has no end point. Even adults continue to shape their identity. Certain life events, such as a divorce or the loss of a partner, can also lead to a (forced) reshuffling or redefinition of existing identities.
And sometimes we are assigned an identity. For example, we do not consciously choose to be the daughter of, the victim of, or to contract a disease such as cancer. These roles and life events play a part in how we develop and view ourselves.
Your environment has an influence
Identity is also social. You form your identity by relating to others. Others shape your identity by how they look at you and treat you. It is not only people you like who help shape your identity; the people you dislike also have an influence on you.
During adolescence, you attach great importance to what your friends think and feel. Are your friends positive about something? Then the chances are that this new choice will become part of your identity.