“What is the purpose of life?” “Is there a God?” “What on Earth are we doing here?” Among life’s big questions, the one that is always interesting is “Who Am I?”
If someone asks “who are you?,” the context is what is important. If they are a snob, then it has a derogatory meaning. If they are simply asking your name it has an entirely different meaning.
We care a lot, at times too much, about what others think of us. But how does one get to the bottom of “who am I?”
Am I a mother, a wife, a friend, an engineer, a passenger or a patient?
The truth is that you are a mother because you have a son/daughter. You are a wife because you have a husband. A passenger because you are on a train. So all your identities, everything you believe yourself to be, are all dependent on something else. So then, who are you?
By not knowing the answers to these questions, you keep creating new identities of yourself, consequently going farther away from your true self. Most of the suffering in life comes from not knowing your true identity. Until you realize your true self, you believe yourself to be the name that was given to you.
The fact that we are programmed to see things that don’t really exist implies that our brain is not capable of perceiving the truth about ourselves. The truth is we are not one person, but many people in one. The particular trait that we manifest at any point in time depends on the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
The irony is that the more you seek to identify who you are, the more fragile you are likely to feel about yourself. Our identity should be an ongoing process, rather than a snapshot.
To know yourself so well leaves no room for growth. Even more it suggests a deep vulnerability that is being defended against as it were too dangerous to take a closer look. Do an exercise writing a letter to yourself. This letter starts you on what could be the most important journey you will ever make, the journey to self.