Who Are You?

who are youThere can be no more daunting question to answer than to ask yourself who am I ? Then to answer it honestly.  Many people automatically list their job and their family situation, but those are outside influences on who you really are, not who you are.  Just in case you need to  know who you are, I think you can start by recognizing who you are not. What are the factors that make you a totally unique individual living on this Earth?

Your Name is Not You

name is not youOne of the first answers to this question is going to be our name. In reality your name is a label that was randomly assigned to you by the fate of your birth.

Wouldn’t you be essentially the same person inside if you were born in another part of the country? Or another side of the world?  Your name doesn’t dictate your honesty, integrity or kindness. Your name is just a label that you call yourself, yet it is not you. So Who are you?

Your Job is Not You

not your jobThe second answer most people give to this question is a rundown of their current resume.

I am a physicist and I work on quantum equations and string theory. This is another label that  describes how you make money but not who your are.

In our society today our identity is so closely related to what we do, that often some people never get around this label to discover what is lying just behind it, waiting there to show the world who is there.  Who are you?

Where You Live is Definitely not You

Another identification people often associate with is the roots of their existence.  I am from Greenville, Maine and I went to geographycollege at the University of Maine at Farmington.

These labels are designed by the mind to give some glamorization to people, and be able to place them into convenient categories.

People will even fight people from another region. In fact, the bloodiest war in US History was fought largely due to geographical differences. Where those souls who fought and died in the Civil War really different because of where they happened to be born?

I think not.  Where you are from is a random aspect of your life due to your birth. Like your name, wouldn’t you still be the sensitive, caring and kind person you are today regardless of where you were born or lived your life? Who are you?

Religion is not Identity

religionMany people will identify themselves with their religion. I am a Catholic, a Buddhist  a Muslim, and so on.  How you relate to God is important for every person, whether they know it or not.

Yet your identity is not wrapped up in the label of religion either.  These are just different ways of looking at the same thing. The relationship between human and divine.

Yet this relationship still won’t tell anyone anything about you. People within the same religion are as different as each star in the sky.  Who are you?

Your Possessions are Not You

In this day when materialism seems to be bordering on a religion, how much you can accumulate seems to be the most important thing to identify yourself with.  As anyone who has chased the material self-esteem, no matter how much you accumulate, you will not be happy. You possessions may be the envy of the world, and still not fill up the empty space inside of you. Because what you own is not who you are.  So who are you?

 

There is a significant mystery here to decide exactly who we are. If you remove all of the labels and societal influences what is left inside of you.  What do think? What do you feel? How do you love? How do you give?  There are many questions that may help you find your identity, or they may not.  I can only tell you for sure what you are not, it is up to you to decide who you are.

poem

Who are you?

 

 

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20 thoughts on “Who Are You?”

  1. Wow, you systematically worked on wearing down every one of my answers. I am left with nothing now. Thank you for freeing me of my concepts on who I “should be”. I now, have the space free to think about who I really am. Excellent post!

    1. Thank you for the great comment as usual Amba, I am always looking forward to seeing what you are thinking. I can’t wait to see who you really are! Understand that I am like twice your age and I am still working on this. So you are getting a really good start. I am always so grateful for your comments and participation here are on your blog, which I love as well. You are simply awesome!:-)

  2. I think about this every time I read a blogger’s “about” page. It’s almost always numbers, jobs, locations, possessions. Some of that stuff helps build an image, but most of it just hides who the person actually is. It always strikes me as odd that — even when given an entirely blank page to fill– people still rely on those data points. This is a great post about breaking down all those barriers. :D I’ll be directing people to it! :)

    1. Thank you so much Rara, it means a lot to me to hear this coming from you. I have worked on my own identity to try to understand who I am. I am not sure if I am there yet but it fascinates me to peel away the layers. I appreciate your taking the time to read this and comment on it so much. I am very grateful. :-)

    1. Some people are,and there is no need to answer! Your pretty great just like you are so why mess with success. I started trying to figure this out a while ago because I didn’t think I was such an awesome person, at least I wasn’t very happy with things. I still am not sure, I don’t know if you ever can know who you are. Thank you for commenting, you know it always makes my day. :-)

    2. You are both so wise, Jon and MissFourEyes. I just saw Jon Kabat-Zinn and he said the same thing. He said that if we really delve into the question of who we are, the only answer we will get is “I don’t know.” “When we know that we don’t know, that is a kind of wisdom.” //bow// to you both. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      1. If not knowing is wisdom then I am very wise.:-) That is why I answered the question with who I am not. That I know. Miss Four Eyes? She is just plain awesome, just like you Kozo!

  3. I’m Jean Val Jean…
    Oh, wait… no, that was someone else.
    Dang, I thought I knew that one!

    Another thought provoking question. I know who I am. I know my job, my family, my religion, my possessions, and the money I have in the bank don’t play any part in who I am. But, I find it hard to define myself all the same. It is easier to say who I am not as you have so pointedly showed in this post. I am unique. I am the accumulation of experiences and memories that I’ve had to this point. I am the decisions I’ve made and their consequences. I am the choices I make every single day in the present. I am, who I am. To try and explain it further would take volumes of pages, a biography of sorts, and even that would come up lacking.

    1. A wise answer Matt, and I think it is one of those questions that can’t be answered. You are unique and thoughtful and the only you that you can be. I can’t define myself, yet I know I would be the same no matter if I was born somewhere else, or did something else for a living. I might experience things differently but the essence of me is still me. I love this philosophical question because anything that makes you think about what it is all about is good. I am grateful for the comment Matt and all of your great talents.

  4. This is exactly the reason why I blog, to figure out this enigma. So far, I’ve come to understand that who I am, who we all are really, is a co-creator. We are creative souls by nature working alongside something so much bigger than ourselves that I cannot even begin to put a name to him/she/it. Awesome post! :-)

    1. Thank you Raimy-D for your great insight and participation. I have often wondered if I spend too much time wondering about this. It was the question that caught my attention for this post. I had a unique experience involving co-creating which I have been meaning to write about. We are creative souls, and I think the creative aspect of our existence connects us with our true selves. It is all great stuff to think about. I think that is one of the reasons I always like the activities you suggest because they are creative and that is important for me to be more creative. Those seemingly small bursts of creativity led to much bigger bursts of creativity. I am always so grateful for your thoughtful participation. I think this blogging could be a full time job. :-)

      1. Blogging is by far the most joyful full time job I’ve ever held, I just wish money came with it haha :-), so any new projects on the horizon?

        1. I know getting paid for this would be great! Right? I remember one of the first comments I read by you was that you hoped this would lead you to a cool job! I remember because I was thinking the same thing. Keep on writing and you never know. As for new projects, I am finishing up the writing project this week so I am open to my next 30 day project if you have any ideas I will consider them. My last day of Jefferson Writing project is on Friday. Then I am moving on the the next big thing, whatever that may be. Perhaps video blogging but I am still unsure. You are the creative guru so there should be a lot of ideas coming from you! :-) Grateful for you insight and input on this space always!

  5. I am a spark of life within the body of a warm blooded creature. The electric impulses in my brain fuel an ego that creates its own reality. Thank you for asking ;)

  6. Great post Jonathan! This is very much in line with non dualism. The quest to find the “I am”. By listing everything that you are not, as you have done here, eventually you arrive simply at “I am…”. That is all, I just am. I exist. Nervous breakdowns are great for this. We identify so strongly with the “things in our life” that when they are lost it’s very disturbing for a while, but then it’s enlightening because you realise all those things were not you, very profound.

    Thanks for sharing! All the best :)

    Rohan.

    1. Thanks Rohan! You just described my own life experience there! I went through an experience much like that. Where I realised what I was not and that I identified myself with a lot of things that were just labels and not who I was. Job, responsibilities, etc. It was a bit disturbing and disorienting at first but once the realization started to come that no matter what happens I am still me, undefinable maybe but still uniquely me. Thank you for your comment and for reading this post, I am very grateful for your insight here. Thanks Rohan!

      1. I’ve gone through 2 nervous breakdowns, and while both were very difficult and, as you say, disturbing and disorienting, ultimately I came out of them a wiser person :)

        It’s very interesting alright! Seems to so often be the case.

        All the best :)

        Rohan.

        1. Wow, it can be a difficult thing to be a human being living in the world sometimes. I always have been fascinated in my life that I lived so many years and nobody ever mentioned anything about identity, or if they did I was not listening. Funny how that works. I am sorry you have had to go through such tough times. I had my own difficulties, but if it wasn’t for them I would never have started having questions and looking for answers and it lead ultimately to a deeper understanding of myself and of life. As I tell people I wouldn’t recommend my path, but I know that it has been the greatest learning experience of my life. :-) I appreciate all of your contributions. As I may or may not have said on your website, I feel I have been a practicing stoic in many ways. Keep being you Rohan, your a great person.

Let me know your thoughts.