Way That People Describe Themselves and Others

Describe the individual factors that make a person who they are, by giving examples of each of the following factors:

  • Physical characteristics
  • Emotions
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Values and beliefs

Each of us has different individual characteristics and factors, and it is the combination of these that make up who we are.

The individual factors are made up of physical characteristics (what people see –examples might be our size, build, colour of hair or skin); emotions (the way in which you feel – examples might be confidence, shyness, an outgoing nature, or miserable); likes and dislikes (things you enjoy doing or those that you avoid – examples might be work, hobbies, sporting activities, cooking / eating, socialising); and values and beliefs (how the world appears to you – examples might be your religion, your moral code, your political beliefs, or your life choices in terms of education and employment).


In relation to values and beliefs, these are essentially our moral make-up. They are the thoughts and beliefs by which we live our lives, and which will help to provide direction for us. Although they may develop as we progress from childhood into adulthood, our values and beliefs will generally tend to stay the same for much of our adult lives. Our values are ideas and moral views that we, as individuals, feel are very important to the way in which we live our lives, for instance the way in which we raise our children, or the way in which we value integrity and honesty in others.

Our beliefs differ slightly in that they refer to ideas that we hold to be true, for instance religious or political views and ideology. Describe the ways in which someone might choose to describe themselves by giving examples of the following topics:

  • Personal interests and characteristics
  • Religious and cultural characteristics
  • Geographic characteristics

People are moulded to an extent by what they have seen and experience in their lifetimes, and this is something that can and will change as time moves on.

When people are particularly interested or motivated by certain areas of life, hobbies or beliefs, they may choose to describe themselves by providing reference to that persuasion. For instance:

  • Personal interests and characteristics

As we progress through life, from child to adult, and then as we grow older, we develop interests in certain aspects of life and certain hobbies and pastimes. It may be that we develop these entirely independently of anyone else, but we are often guided and influenced by people we know or see.

Our interests may be reflected in our membership of certain personal interest groups – for instance political parties, social groups or sporting groups. Someone with a particular interest in politics, and with particular political persuasion may choose to join a local political party, taking part in activities, and helping to campaign for certain political plans. They may then refer to themselves as a Conservative, for instance. Those who have a particular interest in community involvement may join a group such as the Rotary Club and help to organise charitable events.

It may be that an ardent football or cricket fan joins a particular team as a member, thereafter referring to themselves by the name of the club (for example “A Gooner” (Arsenal FC)). , or a “Hell’s Angel”. In terms of personal characteristics, people may tend to refer to themselves by way of their characteristics, and these can be elements of a person’s make-up that they have not necessarily chosen or developed. These could be with regard to their emotional characteristics, perhaps describing themselves as “outgoing” or “funny”, or otherwise making reference to the way that they appear to others.

They may also refer to themselves with regard to a particular personality trait, for instance their sexual persuasion. Some may refer to themselves by way of physical traits, for instance the colour of their hair, the size of their bodies, or a particular disability.

  • Religious and cultural characteristics

A person may refer to themselves in terms of their religion and belief (“I am a Christian / Jew / Muslim”). They may also choose to refer to themselves as being part of a particular cultural group, or as having particular cultural beliefs.

For instance some may choose to describe themselves according to age group (for instance a teenager or pensioner), or with reference to their standing in society or perceived membership of a class group (working, middle or upper class), or perhaps with regard to their profession (for example tradesman, health worker). The cultural characteristics can also link in to an individual’s ideology or belief – it may be that they are a member of a particular belief group, such as Scientology, and therefore cal themselves a Scientologist; or they describe themselves as being of a particular political persuasion (“I am a Liberal”). Geographic characteristics – a person may describe themselves as being a member of a particular group based in a certain part of the Country. For instance, a “Geordie”, “Londoner”, or “Northerner” and “Southerner”. These groups carry with them a number of different identifiers: This could be in terms of language and dialect used (one is often able to identify the geographic origin of those with particularly strong accents, or those using particular phrases); it may also be in terms of cuisine enjoyed within that particular region, the local sport, or perhaps the local customs and associated dress.

In addition to these there has historically been differing geographic characteristics when it comes to employment and industry (for instance clay mining in the South West, coal mining in the northern areas of the UK, and steel making in areas such as Sheffield). All in all there are a number of different identifiers and characteristics that could be adopted by an individual as a result of where they originate from geographically.

  • Dual discrimination means being discriminated against for more than a single reason (eg race and religion).
  • Positive discrimination means receiving favourable treatment as a result of one of their protected characteristics (eg level of service due to their age, or offer of a job due to gender).
  • Discrimination arising from disability means being discriminated against as a result of having a disability.
  • Discrimination by association means being discimnated against as a result of our association with another person or culture that is also receiving iscrimination.
  • Protected characteristics means the personal / social characteristics that are protected from discrimination by law (gender / age / race / religion… ).

Make clear what it means to have multiple identities and then give three examples from people you know (not yourself) to illustrate your explanation of multiple identities. Having multiple or shared identities means that you are not just a member of a particaulr group or represent a single interest. People are made up of a number of different interests, beliefs, personal and geographical characteristics.

Therefore when you describe yourself you would likely refer to a number of these identities in order to paint the full picture. For example:

  • A teacher, as well as a mother of two children, and a keen swimmer.
  • A doctor, as well as a cyclist, and a proud cook.
  • A schoolboy, older brother and keen gamer.

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