When was the last time someone asked you “who are you?” instead people usually ask “what do you do?”. We don’t usually walk around sharing who we are or ask ourselves who we think we are. Life just happens.
We become who we are by all the factors surrounding us. Our family of origin, our job, our partner and perhaps based on where we live too.
Sometimes we live our lives for years before we ask ourself that very important question… Who are we? And if we don’t ask, we often live unaware of why we do what we do or think how we think. Sometimes we think we are important, special, successful and other positive attributes. That’s great!
Other times we ‘think’ we are a failure, are unworthy and nobody special or important. However we got to the point of thinking that, it is not true. Yes we all make mistakes and most of us have failed at something or other. But what we choose to believe about all of that is our choice. And the more we think we are, whatever negative labels we have chosen, the more WE are that.
When I began my journey of self discovery, I realized that a great deal of how I acted and who I ‘thought’ I was, was based on others and my circumstances. I decided at one point that I needed to investigate who this person was that I had become.
I began to ask myself these questions:
- What are my own beliefs and values (not based on others, but based on my ‘own’ perceptions and experiences)
- What factors attributed to my personality and behaviors (relationships, experiences – good and bad)
- How did I feel when my thoughts and opinions differed from others (I often felt uncomfortable and did not want to be an ‘outsider’)
Over time I realized that not everything I had become, how I thought and acted, was being true to who I really was. Yes, many times I share the same opinion as others or will do the same things (similar interests). But there were also many times (in the past) that I found myself doing or saying things or having the opinion of others and not being my own self.
I realized that I needed to be clear about who I was, what I thought/wanted and what life I wanted to live, for me. That is when I began to understand that many of the things I thought about myself were not true for me and were strongly biased by others or by my circumstances. It’s freeing to align my beliefs, my wants and who I am together. I practiced the following to help:
- Even when uncomfortable, I do not go along with what others are doing/saying unless it truly aligns with who I am
- I spend the necessary time reflecting on who I am and remind myself of my attributes even when I feel discouraged about something and especially when rejected by others
- I practice staying open (acceptance not necessarily agreeing with) to others feelings/thoughts/beliefs (that are not aligned with mine) which helps me to remember that we are all different in many ways and that is what adds beauty and depth to the world
- I listen to others thoughts/opinion/suggestions about me, my work and my personal life but I do not let their opinions change who I know I am (I will consider if change is needed)
Who do you think you are?
As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments and always appreciate learning more about the community at Then Life Happens.