We do not exist in the way we think we do. Seems like a rather profound statement, and it is.
When we look at ourselves in the mirror we see our bodies and our clothes in an instant, we recognize our reflection as being well, ‘us’. We are taught from an early age to recognize our reflection, and unlike the majority of animals we recognize our reflection as ‘us’ and not as another person.
Imagine a person asks, ‘who are you?’ Most will respond with the basic facts, ‘My name is…., I’m from……, I’m a…… and work for…… I live in……’ and so on. This seems all perfectly normal and great on the surface, but how about going a little deeper?
Imagine the same person asks you for a second time, ‘who are you?’ You could list more facts, ‘My nationality is…., My qualifications are….. My parents are called….. My pets are…..’
Surely ‘who we are’ is more than just the facts we have accumulated and been taught.
Imagine again the same person asks for a third time, ‘who are you?’ You could list your personality traits and characteristics, you could list your dislikes and likes, you could list your beliefs, and you could list your biggest achievements. However, as much as all these statements and descriptions may be true, are they really who we are?
Surely ‘who we are’ is more than just our likes and dislikes? our traits and characteristics? More than our beliefs? And more than our biggest achievements? What about our little achievements? What about our thoughts and emotions? What about our memories and experiences?
I’ve spent a long time thinking about ‘who I am’, and to be totally honest, I have come to realize that ‘who I am’ has changed over time. My thoughts have matured with age, my memories have faded and have been reanalyzed, and my knowledge has increased, though I still have lots to learn. I have realized however, who I am, is not the person who I want to be. I want to be the person who doesn’t hesitate to forgive, who tolerates and listens, who acts with compassion. I want to be the person who cares for the world and lets the world care for me in return. I want to be the person who loves all with an open heart and mind. I am striving to be that person, but the road is long. So I ask, who are you and are you who you want to be?