There has been a lot of talk recently about authenticity and being fully yourself; but how do we know who that person is? And, even if we do know who that person is, are we ever really fully ourselves? Do we ever really bring all of who we are to the table? Or do we just bring the parts of us that we feel will be received, the parts we think that others want to see? I think that’s really more of what the average person does.
Part of this is because we have been taught over the years that what we say doesn’t matter, or that we’re not good enough or that we should mind our elders and speak only when spoken to. Part of it is because we don’t want to offend someone or put ourselves in the position of being a target. But I think it’s also because we don’t really know who we are completely. I mean, think about it. Who are you?
If you had to define yourself today, could you do it? And how would you do it? Perhaps you’d try defining yourself in terms of the roles you play: mother, father, child, partner, career title, etc.; but is that all you are, the sum of the roles that you play? What if you did it by personality traits? Now you’ve got: open-minded, adventurous, kind, charming, welcoming, loud, brash, etc. Is this everything? Probably not.
I had someone floor me with this question once. I introduced myself and she said “okay, so who is Kelle Sparta?” and ten years ago, I couldn’t answer her. I stammered and hemmed and hawed and didn’t manage to say much. Today I would likely have responded with “I am me. I have many facets but the person you see before you is the essence of who I am.” I would say that not because it is a good definition, but because there is no real way to answer a question like that.
Who we are is ever-changing depending upon our circumstances and our self definition. It is solid insofar as the stories we tell ourselves and the places we frequent and the people we spend time with are consistent; but change even one of those factors and we change – our definition of who we are changes.
People think that change is hard, but this is a myth. Change is easy – getting past our resistance to it is the hard part. Change is happening all around us all the time. It is the natural order of things. We are the ones that make it difficult.
So here’s your question for today. Who are you? Take a little stock right now and look at your actions (not your intentions – your actions say who you are, your intentions are who you wish you were). Who are you? Who do the people around you see you as? Is that the person you want to be? (Hint, look at how well your actions and intentions align.) If not, what are you prepared to do to change it?