Who am I? On the surface this is seems a simple question and can be answered with various nouns and adjectives. I am a beautiful and intelligent woman. I am a thinker. I am a surgeon. I am a compassionate and caring husband. And so on. However, when we dig deeper and go to the place we rarely want to go and ask this question with our heart and mind then the answer becomes almost like a mirror to ourselves. It spells out our identity - assumed or real identity.
How do I define myself?
I suggest that the response comes from that which gives you purpose. Is it your career? Your wealth?Your social status? Your children? Your husband or wife? Your religious faith? Don't answer this question until you ask yourself - What or Who in your life if removed permanently or temporarily would leave you "define-less" - lacking identity?
Sometimes we are not even aware of what or who we allow to define us until that thing or person is taken away and we are left scrambling to make sense of who we really are. We wonder if we truly believe the definition bestowed on us whether with assistance from others or just by ourselves - in our secret place.
I came across a sign some years ago that said "Don't take life too seriously, it is just a temporary situation". Casting Crowns - the contemporary Christian rock band - in their song"Who am I?" give the same temporal view in the chorus - "... I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow, a wave tossed in the ocean, a vapor in the wind..." Casting Crowns - Who Am I?
Very true... life as we know it is temporal... but this is the only "situation", the only "flower", "wave", "vapor" we will have so we take it so seriously that at a certain point in our lives we need to know who we are, know this "situation", "flower", because it somehow gives us meaning, makes us relevant - or so we want to believe.
It is a lonely place to be - when that which gives you meaning is taken or lost - at least until you re-define yourself and spell out a new identity, a new self - assumed or authentic (real) self.
Dr Phil - Self Matters
Todd Monger - Defining Self in a World of Errors
Marilynn B. Brewer - Abstract - The Social Self: On Being the Same and different at the Same Time