“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
5 Comments Add yours
I really liked this! I completely agree that I often get down on myself for not knowing a clear path forward, but I’m trying my best to enjoy the journey of life instead of worrying about what’s going to happen or where I’m going to be years down the road. With what’s going on right now around the world, who knows how things are going to turn out anyway? This real talk is very much needed and appreciated and I support what you’re saying here 100 percent! It’s okay to not really know yourself. Life’s about discovering who you are over time I think.
Hi Kyle! It’s so good to not only hear that you liked this but that you relate to my confusion as well. I totally agree what’s most important right now is to just enjoy the present moment and not get too caught up in the future and questioning yourself too much. I’m still trying to switch that side of my brain because there are so many questions that plague me but then also rob me of just be ok with how things are now and being ok with not having all of the answers. Especially now with what’s going on in the world I agree that everyone is going through some sort of existential crisis and we aren’t alone in this, we just have to learn to let things go. Thank you so much for your insight it’s always good to hear feedback and get reassurance that someone else out there is having similar questions and issues. Here’s to the uncertain future and the journey of discovery! 😉
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Believe me, I totally and completely do. The last couple of days I’ve actually been feeling kind of down in the dumps because I didn’t see a road forward from where I’m at right now, but today I made a choice to not stress about it and try to enjoy what’s going on right now in my life a little more. I have these moments now and then, and I definitely feel the whole quarter-life existential crisis thing going on. But it’s okay for the future to be uncertain! We have such a long life ahead of us to make mistakes and get victories, and that’s what I’m trying to keep in mind. You’ve got this.
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Sorry to hear that you were down in the dumps but in the same breath I’m really happy that you managed to pull yourself out of that and look at the bright side even when things might not feel that way! Trust me its an amazing skill to have and one that I think we will need the older we get and the more situations we run into. Out of curiosity when you do get bouts of stress what do you do to pull yourself out of the funk? what’s been the most helpful? On my end, I try to maybe watch stand up or a funny movie but there are some weird times where watching something that’s scary or even sad gets me out of it maybe because my mind is so involved that I forget what I was stressing about. Wow, I completely got off track! Either way, I hope that you are still doing good and that You know that You’ve got this as well! It’s going to be a weird, scary, fun and hopefully awesome long road ahead!
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Thanks, I really appreciate that. And I wish I had some more words of wisdom, but in my experience there’s a limited amount I can do to get rid of these depressive moods by force. Mostly I just have to distract myself as best I can (TV and movies certainly help, as does my writing) and ride them out. Perseverance, as with pretty much everything I find, is the name of the game. Good entertainment and a story I love working on can help with them, but actually music is the biggest one! Idk how much of a music person you are, but there’s a few songs (and others besides) that always help lift me out of my funk. Even a sad song, as weird as it sounds, sometimes does more than a happy one to make you feel better. I swear, it’s science. Haha. And for the record, I don’t think you got off track at all there. I hope something I said helps and I really like chatting with you! Hope you’re good too.
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