Who am I? What defines me? These are questions that almost everyone will ask themselves at some point in their life and maybe more than once as life changes.
The answer is more than just your given name, of course, it much deeper than that, it a question about your personality and much more.
Your illness(es)/disabilities doesn’t define you
When pain and struggle take over, it can be difficult to remember who you are. The illness infiltrates all aspects of our lives. I know that I have struggled with feeling like I was losing who I was like the illness was taking over my entire world. It’s easy to see ourselves only through the eyes of our illness(es) or disabilities.
We are human, not an illness, nor a disability.
Each one of us has a broad array of titles (such as “friend,” “spouse,” “mailman,” “teacher,” “student,” etc.) that come with being human, but what truly defines who we are as an individual? We’re not what’s happening to us. We are all the things we choose to be, but we are not what is making us sick. We need to remember this when we are struggling the most with our health.
Your job/career doesn’t define you.
We may tend to define ourselves through our profession or/and our work. I am a teacher, I am a customer service representative, I am an accountant, I am a technical assistant, and so on. There are many individuals who become teachers, but they are not all the same. So what makes us unique? What defines us? There are many people who hold on to jobs they don’t particularly like because it represents financial security. Your job/career doesn’t define who you are.
There are many people who hold on to jobs they don’t particularly like because it represents financial security. I love my job, but should I ever win the lottery (okay, I need to start buying tickets), I don’t think I would keep the same job if I don’t need it to support myself and my family.
This means that our job/career doesn’t define who we are. We are human, not a job/career. Our identity is who we are, not what we do.
Your “role” doesn’t define you.
As mentioned earlier, we are more than just a mother/father, husband/wife, sibling, son/daughter, friend/enemy. We are individuals in our own right. These different roles only define your relationships to others, not who we are on the inside.
What defines you?
Any of these items alone, do not define you. The addition of all of these may form part of your identity, but they aren’t the complete answer to who am I? We cannot reduce our identity to generalised groupings. So how do we define ourselves?
I think that personal values and character play a bigger role is what defines us.
- Identify your core values. For example, I believe in equality, social justice and honesty.
- What are your 3 strongest character traits? For example, I’m introverted, compassionate and stubborn.
Of course, our personal identity develops and evolves over time, so self-awareness is necessary to stay true to ourselves.