“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
~ E. E. Cummings
How do we become ourselves? It is one of life’s great contradictions that the things we don’t want to look at in ourselves are the very things we need to look at in order to know ourselves better and to become more fully who we are. Yet, it is often the feelings that make us want to run away that are filled with energy and inspiration – if we are willing to look into them. Then, when we look, we find the information we need in order to grow more into our selves.
So, is it that we really don’t know ‘who we are’ that is the problem? Or is it our delusions around the perceptions of ‘what we are’; the conditioning of the mind that we acquire after birth? Consider this: When born, a new baby is conscious yet it has no sense of being a person, a personality. This is something that is instilled into us as we grow up. All kinds of impressions and assumptions are given to us through our parents, our peers, and society. We are continually fed information about ‘what we are’ and what we should be.
But when and how are we encouraged to explore who we are?
This post merely introduces a subject of enormous depth. But it scratches the surface of one of my favorite probes. If you want to explore more about ‘who you are’ versus ‘what you are’ or do, here are four starting considerations:
- You are not your circumstances. Circumstances, both good and bad, can change. Who you are will still be standing when they do.
- You are not what you do. I’m going to repeat this. You are not what you do. When you can no longer do what you do , whether by choice or not, you will still be you.
- You are not your roles. We all have lots of roles we play. But none of them fully define who we are.
- You are not your beliefs or affiliations. This is a tough one. Identifying with belief systems or groups is especially comforting. It makes us feel safe and secure. But one of the keys to growth is openness.
Becoming who you are, at your core, can take considerable time and effort. Is being your authentic self something you want?