Who Are You Really?

Who are you really? This is a tough question. There are so many layers to who we are that it can be difficult to boil it down to a simple answer but as humans it is our nature to try to make meaning of things. One of those things that we most want to assign meaning to is us.

Who am I? It’s a fundamental question and how you choose to answer can define the direction of your life. Let’s look at a few of our socially accepted definitions.

People sometimes define themselves by the roles that they play. You often over hear the following introductions at cocktail parties, school meetings and business lunches. Folks introduce themselves as …Jack’s wife, Billy’s mother, Jason’s brother, or as a student at the U of M, CEO of Acme corp, etc. Of course, there is nothing wrong with any of these descriptions. It’s just one layer of who you are. It is a role you are choosing to identify with usually in the context of a situation.

Take it a step further. You might even try to define who you are by your accomplishments. I am a 1982 Olympian. I am a PHD. I am an astronaut. I am President. All of these examples point to a goal or an achievement. Again, there is nothing wrong with being proud of your accomplishments but they are not who you are but what you have done.

If you want to go even more general, you can try to define who you are by geography. You can say I am a Memphian or I am Southerner or I am an American. Although these statements are true, they are more of an arrow pointing to some sort of cultural value system that you have agreed to participate in.

You can eve define yourself by science. I am a Caucasian woman. I am a human. I am a homo sapien. All of these are true statements, but temporary.

Pause for a minute. Stop and listen to your heart. Allow yourself to really feel the presence of who you are. Now, think about all the labels you have assigned to yourself. Do any of these truly resonate at the core of your being? Do they really tap into the whole of you are? Do they even touch on the bigness of what you are? My hunch is probably not. These labels aren’t enough because they originate from aspects of our personality-self. Your personality (derived from the Latin word persona meaning mask) is the mask that you choose to wear in this life. It is a mask. A super useful mask, but a mask none the less.

So, who are you really?

It’s the ultimate question and the one that defines the direction and meaning of your life. As you examine yourself and how you define you, I encourage you to be gentle with yourself. This defining is a process, an uncovering. It will probably change as you contemplate and ponder. Allow it to be fluid. Allow it to shift. Allow yourself to be wrong. Allow yourself to discover. And most of all, allow yourself to laugh along the way.