Do you know? Do you suspect? Are you sure you have it nailed? After all, you’ve known yourself your entire life.
So, if anyone is able to answer the question, who are you? it should be you, right? Of course, that’s true if you compare how well you know yourself versus how well you know others. Guess what? You don’t know. I’m sorry if that comes as a shock to you, but the reality is that you don’t know who you are.
It’s about Comparisons
Your brain automatically sets about defining and comparing things to related items. Our habit of definition and comparison are so intertwined that one simply could not exist without the other. You can take an apple and compare it to other objects like dogs, watermelons, or even cars. You can recognize the differences between apples and the other items.
When you compare apples to other apples you immediately seek similarities. We do that same thing with each other. We attempt to define and compare others to ourselves. So, you automatically attempt to define who you are as compared to other people. That isn’t a great handle of who you are, is it? It’s simply a comparison.
Here’s an example. Millicent has a great job and she cares about the car she drives, which is why she drives a top of the range Range Rover. She’s deeply passionate about her SUV. You, on the other hand, have a decent job and while you value being able to get from point A to point B, you have never bothered about the status related to car ownership. You, instead, drive a decades-old Prius.
So, if you were to directly compare those two points, Millicent is a well-off Range Rover driver and you aren’t doing as well since you drive a Prius. That’s not accurate, though, is it? There are additional factors you didn’t consider when you concluded.
The other factors
That’s the reality of life. When you compare yourself to someone else, you do so without the full picture. You know your side of things, but you don’t know their side. So, you judge yourself based on an incomplete story. How can you say that you know who you are as a person when you a) set out to define yourself based on others, and b) you can’t stop with the comparisons! Who are you for you?
This goes beyond the obvious I’m a mom, I’m a homemaker, I’m a lawyer, I’m a shopkeeper. It’s deeper than that. What do you value? What do you desire? What do you want from this life? What issues and dysfunction keep you stuck and cause you pain?
- Old Definitions
I want you to think of how you define yourself as of right now. You can write out your name, sex, job description, loves, hates, likes, dislikes, hobbies, fears, bad habits, addictions, and anything and everything that you believe makes you who are you.
For each, write out I am… and complete the sentence with a new thought.
- Question Labels
For each of the responses you created from the point above, I want you to ask whether it’s an accurate description of you or simply a definition/label you have accepted as truth. Be creative with your doubt as you examine old definitions and labels.
- Is It Beneficial?
Now, are any of these labels valuable to you? Do they improve your life? Do they help you learn more about yourself? Will they aid your personal growth? You’ll know the answer in your gut. Learn to listen to your intuition.
- A New Definition
If you have decided any of the definitions/labels you listed are not beneficial, then it’s time to come up with a new definition that will help you move forward. This is your opportunity for rebirth, to get to truly know yourself, and use that information to move forward with confidence.