Never Surrender Your Identity!

Dexter Pitts doesn’t quit in the face of hardships and refuses to allow other people to impose their values on him. Dexter has lived his life in the middle of challenge and controversy.  

He began serving in the United States Army after watching our nation come under attack on September 11, 2001. Although the war in Afghanistan had broad support after these attacks, Dexter found himself as an infantryman serving in Iraq. War is a challenge in any combat environment. However, as an infantryman, Dexter was at the center of controversy over a disputed war. 

Dexter’s vehicle was blown up by an improvised explosive device (IED) on dangerous city streets while faithfully carrying out his unit’s mission.  He beat the odds and made an incredible recovery after these sustained injuries.

He would go on to be in the middle of controversy again as a law enforcement officer during the race riots in Louisville, KY. He also served on the US border during an international immigration crisis.

Dexter has been amid significant controversy and challenges since he finished high school.

It would be natural for Dexter to become hardened by all the dangers and death that he’s seen around him. However, he has remained a compassionate law enforcement officer, despite the harrowing circumstances he’s been through. His greatest strength is his ability to hold his moral convictions and stand his ground when everyone around him tries to force him to choose sides amid the moral controversies he endured. 

Dexter’s never-surrender attitude has made it possible for him to defy the odds in most circumstances. However, I’m most inspired by Dexter’s resistance to the overwhelming pressures to conform to the loudest voices around him.  

I believe we can all learn from his conviction not to allow the powerful forces of society to determine what kind of man he will be.  Here are a few thoughts that came to mind as I listened to Dexter’s recent Unbeatable episode.  I hope this will help you Never Surrender Your Identity like Dexter. 

Marry your self-worth to your identity

The idea of identity is complex and diverse, and its meaning varies depending on the individual.

Essentially, identity includes the qualities and attributes that make us unique, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, occupation, and more.  How you view yourself will be determined mainly by your identity… and vice versa.

Identity can create a sense of community and belonging, particularly when people share cultural traditions or languages. However, it can also lead to conflict and division when different groups have conflicting opinions.

Learn to respect and disagree with others at the same time

Understanding individual differences is essential for empathy and creating a more inclusive society. For example, someone from a marginalized group may understand societal norms and power dynamics differently than someone from a privileged group.

Respecting other people’s opinions is becoming a lost art in our world.  People come from diverse backgrounds and circumstances. These life experiences will inevitably leave a lasting impact on someone’s character. Character is the foundation of your identity.  

You can strengthen your identity by learning to see why others hold viewpoints that might contradict or conflict with your perspective. This simple exercise restores human dignity even to people with whom you disagree. 

Allow your identity to grow with you

Identity is not fixed or rigid; it is fluid and constantly evolving. Our experiences, relationships, and environment can all influence how our identities change over time. Embracing this fluidity can help us become more understanding, adaptable, and appreciative of the diversity of human experience.  

I’ve found that people who never surrender their identity often have the most significant understanding and respect for others’ opinions without compromising their values. Identity is a multifaceted concept that significantly shapes our lives and experiences.

By embracing the diversity and fluidity of identity, we can create a more inclusive and fair society that values and respects the unique contributions of all individuals.  You, too, can stand firm amidst the tidal wave of public opinion crashing down on you from every side like Dexter Pitts.  

Your ability to respect others without compromise is the key to never surrendering your identity to peer pressure or public opinion.

Listen to the whole interview, “Standing Firm When Attacked on ALL Sides” with US Army veteran and police officer Dexter Pitts HERE.

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