“Tell me more about yourself?”; “Who are you?”; “Describe yourself in three words?”
Whenever someone asks me any of these questions, my palms get sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy…
haha no, but on a serious note though my mind always goes blank and I never know what to say because I don’t think I know who I am, actually I’m sure I don’t.
How does one even define that? What do you base yourself on?
In my current quarter-life crisis one of the main things I struggle with is defining who I am in the pursuit to be true to what that is. I love quoting King Claudius from Shakespeares’ Hamlet, “To thine own self be true” because it’s a beautiful thought but if I don’t even know what that is then it becomes a glaring reminder of my inauthenticity.
I know what I am, I’m a human being who is made up of her body but that shouldn’t define me because they are physical aspects that fade over time. I don’t want my identity to be defined by my body because those things aren’t really mine in that I can lose them at any point in time, they are just tools that help me navigate better in life.
Well, what about my mind? One might argue that you are your mind and your thoughts because those, in turn, control your actions, and in society, we define people according to their actions and words. However, I think our thoughts arent are own. If you really think about it, the way you perceive life is not from your own understanding but from your environment and the people you surround yourself with and even read about. This to me says that my thoughts aren’t my own I’m just regurgitating someone else’s thoughts and beliefs because to me they make sense.
A good example of this is my interests in philosophy especially stoicism, when reading through some of these works I consciously decided to align with some of those beliefs and in turn made it part of my identity. I literally have a “Practicing Stoic” tag on this blog. Does that define who I really am? Is that the true version of me? Or is it a version of myself I wish to be because it’s different and interesting and some of the most intelligent people seem to be into philosophy. I don’t know!
I can’t even define my true self according to my political views because those aren’t black and white to me. I’m not a complete liberal nor am I a complete conservative and I believe the world of politics is really shaped and led by whoever makes the better argument so I sometimes think just blindly always aligning yourself to one side without having an objective look to what all parties at hand are saying can blind you. Plus I don’t want to define myself according to political party’s/views but rather use it as tools to hopefully make society better. I don’t know if that made any sense.
What about tastes? Again, I don’t know if my tastes are truly my own or if they are shaped by my environment and society. I will admit I’m one of those people who would have some weird pride in liking something that was unconventional because for some stupid reason I would think people who liked mainstream movies or music were sheep when in fact I was a sheep too just in a smaller herd. I get uncomfortable when people ask me what’s my favourite movie or type of music because it’s so hard for me as it’s so diverse and I have this fear that the person will judge who I am according to my answer when it isn’t even a holistic view. Plus how can those things define our true selves when they are ever-changing, they are just things we enjoy.
What I’m trying to say is that I think I’m in part a culmination of other people’s expectations of me, my perception of what I think other people think of me, and my beliefs in what the ideal person should be. Yikes! There are so many things and ideas I feel passionate about but I’m just not sure if it’s those things that define me or if they are just things I’m interested in because they always change.
Unfortunately I don’t have the answers.
When someone asks me “Who are you?” maybe I should be comfortable with just saying that “I don’t know“. Funny enough, my first thought about what my reaction would be if someone responded that way was “What an idiot“.
Society has this mantra of telling you that if you don’t know who you are then you are lost and an empty shell of a person who can be shaped by whoever comes your way. Maybe that’s true. Maybe human beings are empty shells, to begin with, who through our ability of perception decided to align who we were according to our interests. Maybe it doesn’t matter that those interests were from others or that the reason we even have those interests is so that we fit in, maybe all that’s important is you make that choice.
I’m not sure if I will know my true authentic self. I know what I like and what I don’t like and I know what I enjoy doing. I just have this feeling that I shouldn’t tie who I am to those things but just enjoy them.
So maybe, the next time someone asks me who I am, maybe, for now, a sufficient answer is “I don’t know, I’m still in pursuit of that“.
Never forget to carpe all the diems