Musing on identity|
Aside from judgments, we receive from other people their hopes for us, in either subtle or direct ways, and most certainly we choose who to be, but our choices will be very different in the face of people whose expectations we know or imagine and either plan to satisfy or disappoint, depending on how we like them.
Those people cannot claim ownership of your identity, but they influence it by influencing your choices - by being strong forces in the environment through which we navigate, both practically and emotionally (noting that the choices we make are based on our perceptions, which are imperfect, so that a person's influence may often be different, even contrary to what they'd wish, were everything clear and straightforward - yet at the same time the influence of other people can sometimes clarify, and thus avoid our making that sort of mistake. It is all every which way).
Further, everything we choose to do changes who we are, in that it leads to experience, which I think is probably the main shaper of men.