Identity formation is the development of an individual's distinct personality, which is regarded as a persisting entity in a particular stage of life by which a person is recognized or known. This process defines individuals to others and themselves. Pieces of the individual's actual identity include a sense of continuity, a sense of uniqueness from others, and a sense of affiliation. Identity formation clearly influences personal identity by which the individual thinks of him or herself as a discrete and separate entity. This may be through individuation whereby the undifferentiated individual tends to become unique, or undergoes stages through which differentiated facets of a person's life tend toward becoming a more indivisible whole.
Individuals gain a social identity and group identity by their affiliations. Self-concept is the sum of a being's knowledge and understanding of himself. Self-concept is different from self-consciousness, which is an awareness of one's self. Components of self-concept include physical, psychological, and social attributes, which can be influenced by the individual's attitudes, habits, beliefs, and ideas. Cultural identity is one's feeling of identity affiliation to a group or culture.
Similarly, an ethnic identity is the identification with a certain ethnicity, usually on the basis of a presumed common genealogy or ancestry. Further, national identity is an ethical and philosophical concept whereby all humans are divided into groups called nations. Members of a nation share a common identity and usually a common origin in their sense of ancestry, parentage, or descent. Lastly, a religious identity is the set of beliefs and practices generally held by an individual, involving adherence to codified beliefs and rituals and study of ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as faith and mystic experience.
Fourth of July celebrations, during which Americans dress in red, white, and blue, are manifestations of national identity. Fourth of July is only meaningful as a celebration of independence for individuals who share a sense of national identity as Americans.