Does our identity change when we age? Why is this a relevant question? The sympathetic Belgian psychiatrist Paul Verhaeghe is very precise about this (from his book The end of psychotherapy): “Without identity we are no more than our body.”
What is the core of our identity? What makes our identity so important? The answer Verhaeghe gives is very surprising: we have an identity because we share an enormous amount of human traits with other humans. The Latin identitas means: similarity.
We share our identity with the group, with the many groups, to which we belong. We belong to these groups because we share the same symbolic expressions. Assisted by those symbols our identity nurses self-awareness, stability and continuity. That’s why it is so important.