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Letters to Young Men: February | Identity

By Attireclub @attireclub
- William Wordsworth in Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour, July 13, 1798

One of the biggest questions you'll ask yourself in life, especially when you are quite young and discovering the world will be "who am I?" And that's a fair question: we need to know who we are in order to make sense of the thing we do, the world around us, our relationship to it and, ultimately, to other people.

This is hardly a rule, but it can be said that a man needs first to be accepting of himself, to know who he is in order to be accepting of others and to be able to be in happy connections with others.

Surely, you may never really know who you are, although after some years it would be high time to know.

Identity can be seen as having two parts: the first one, composed of a foundation and the second one, composed of the details and the individual.

The first part is the part that defines your traits in regards to a belonging to a group. The four pillars found in this part are your sex, your ethic and national background, your religious and spiritual side and your sexuality. Over time, you will see that many people get stuck here and don't go beyond seeing themselves (and others) as anything more than one or more of these traits. Surely, these traits are essential, but they are not enough for a complex and complete person.

The second part, however, is the part that matters most: it is here where your true self lies, as it is composed of everything else you are. Here you'll find all the things you yourself have added: your favorite color, your hobbies, your job, your interests, your political perspectives and much more. These nuances are what makes you - you. Your actions and thoughts are what defines you and you are able to express these things through clothes and personal style, to let others know what you're about.

If you base your personality more on what makes you an individual, you can relate to others better. This way, you won't focus as much on others' expectations of yourself, but on your own expectations. If you struggle with your identity, you can always remember a wise quote from Heraclitus, "Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become."

Surely, one needs to always strike a balance between the two different aspects of identity, but success comes by focusing mostly on the individual side. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, "The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

Fraquoh and Franchomme

Further reading:

Letters to young men: January change

P.S. We want to hear from you! How do you relate to your own identity? How do you define yourself? Have you had identity-related struggles? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!


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