Is Identity a Choice?

A friend sent me this a while back and the question really got me thinking... is it? Is identity a choice?

Many of the comments essentially say, "No, but then also yes." Or, "Yes, but then also no."

The no: from the moment we are born, we are told our race, nationality, gender, and sometimes religion (or lack thereof). These things are given to us and form the basis of how we exist in the world and thus, who we are.

The yes: at some point in our lives, we elect to embrace or reject these things, depending on how well they fit. We also add new aspects to our identity, thanks to things like hobbies and careers and education.

I totally agree with the "yes" argument, with one little problem: when we wriggle out of an ill-fitting identity and toss it aside in favour of one that feels more comfortable, have we really chosen that identity? Or have we simply chosen to be honest with ourselves about who we really are?

It is certainly a choice to allow yourself to be who you are, but do we get to choose who that person is in the first place? It seems to me we just find that out as we go.

Here's another question: is how others see us important to our identity, or just how we see ourselves?

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