Who Are You? Who, Who, Who, Who?

Who Are You?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?

32 thoughts on “Who Are You? Who, Who, Who, Who?”

  1. Loved this!! Change can be scary, especially if it’s the first conscious change you’ve gone thru. But once you have made it thru and realize how much better life can be if you’re willing to change, it is SO easy and effortless!! Thanks for the reminder and inspiration!

  2. Kelly, rock on! I love this – I too, would have been hard pressed to answer the question, “Who are you” 10 years ago and the first thing that popped into my mind when you posed the question at the end of your post is that I am a fluid, ever-changing expression of ME – which makes me giddy with gratitude and utter delight. Thank you for framing this up in such a beautiful way – what a pleasure to “find” you! xoxo.nona

  3. Excellent post Kelly! The simplicity of the question “who are you?” Is always one that has shot straight through my bones-it has a kind of fairy tale quality to it I think. Who we are is something for me that changes everyday, but underneath those changes there are core principles that remain the same-identifying what those principles are has really help me in my work and my message!

  4. Love the incisive questions at the end. The timing is funny — I had just done a blog post about realizing the the driver behind my business wasn’t a lack of time, but a loss of identity. Early on, I was missing the things that made me ME. So great to find your blog here, and your inspired work.

  5. I really appreciate your acknowledgement of how challenging it is to be fully authentic or to even know who we really are. I’ve been going through a time of radical transformation the last couple of years that is causing me to question so much of what I thought I knew about myself. Even with all I’ve learned in this process, it’s still hard to define who I am.

    I also love, love, love this quote: “Change is easy – getting past our resistance to it is the hard part.” How true!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Kelle this article is amazing, so much is written about being the real you and it’s something that I am working to discover; but you’re right, it is fluid, changing depending where we are and who we are with. I thought that somehow that was wrong, that we shouldn’t be that fickle I guess; but different people bring different things out in us.

    I love the thought of aligning our actions with our intentions to see who we really are. Today that would mean I’m brave, I’ve faced four huge fears and done something about them, you made me realise that I am aligning with who I think I am and it has made my heart soar. Thank you!

  7. Love this. It touches on a really important feminist issue. We’ve been muted by society to such a degree that even if do come to terms with who we are (and a lot of us don’t), we are afraid to step into ourselves completely.

    Who am I? I am belief and hope and scars and confession. I am color and light and dark grey. I am words and nerves and yearning. I am journey and stillness and war and peace and right and wrong. And I am becoming the person I was created to be.

  8. It’s hard to be authentic when there are so many people out there content to tell you that who you really are is wrong. Well done, brave post!

  9. I am in a similar place. I am a proponent of authenticity and also know it is a task to uncover who that is. I think it is when we bring it all forward, warts, strengths and weaknesses and embrace that fully. That is when others can accept us fully as well.

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  11. I do a yogic meditation on the question “who am I” and what is really interesting for myself and students is that the question usually involves all kinds of “labels”: mom, author, cook, hard worker, generous, etc. etc. Once you get away from thinking the answer and simply “feeling” the answer then it gets very interesting indeed.

  12. So challenging!

    Who am I?

    It brings tears to my eyes to try to answer this question. I’ve been on a journey, there and back again, these last few years. I wrote about how I went searching for that which was not lost. I pushed away the labels I thought were too limiting … only to look back and realize I had left crumbs of myself along the path … they led me home. to me.

    This is my year of embodiment. I am standing in wholeness.

    Who am I?

    I am.

    That is the only answer I have.

  13. Thought provoking ideas here. You’ve managed to untangle the proverbial ball of yarn in describing change, who we are, who we show up as and so much more.

    I am Me. The simplicity of that answer is lovely.

  14. Who am I?
    I think the most important part of that is the I AM part which you beautifully touched on.
    To say I AM makes it real and present and true.

    I am a happiness instigator
    I am a loving partner
    I am a business owner/creator
    I AM…

  15. Holy smokeyroo, GREAT questions, Kelle! I love this view that our authentic self is dynamic and ever-changing. I do take comfort and strength from FINALLY knowing what I truly value (and, as it turns out, always have) and that these values endure. Your question reminds me of my spiritual teacher’s most impactful lesson, IMHO, and that is see things as they are, not as you wish they were or how you wish you were. Thank you, Kelle!

  16. “Change is easy – getting past our resistance to it is the hard part.” This is SO true. Often worrying about what is going to happen is worse than it actually happening. Same is true, I suppose, about being authentic. Instead of worrying about what people will think of us, we should just be ourselves (our TRUE selves) and let the chips fall where they may. Good post!

  17. Dear Claire,

    I’m so glad that my words could help! I spend a lot of time in transition – pretty much my whole life actually. It’s the change that I carry for others that bleeds over into my life. I love m work, but getting used to a constantly shifting world of “who am I” was the hardest part. I still struggle with it from time to time. (Just a little confession here – I often write blog posts for myself as though they were for others – reminding myself of something – this was the case with this blog post too!) Thanks for sharing the heart opening – I an thrilled to entrain with that energy.

  18. Dearest Kenetha,

    Radical transformation can be disorienting even to seasoned transformers. If I may offer a piece of advice. Try not to define yourself too quickly after a change. You need to see all the ramifications of your new choices before you give yourself the limits of your new existence. Approach your new self like a new person you’re meeting and trying to befriend. Be open to see how they behave, witness more than categorize and look for things to like about the new you. It’s more like a game this way than the sense of being out of control and needing to lock things down. It also leaves you open to make more shifts if they are necessay before you codify your new world.

    Happy changing!

  19. Stephanie,

    One of my favorite quotes if from Dr. Seuss: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” I think this is so true. I would also encourage you to change your metaphor from “let the chips fall where they may” to “see what doors open in response” because, in my experience, the doors that close are ones I wasn’t really interested in anyway and the ones that open are so much better than I ever imagined that I’m floored. Just a thought… 🙂

  20. Ali, your teacher is so right! I often hear people talk about wishing things were different but few people realize how often we wish WE were different. Wishes are the death of goals because a wish is something you believe will never happen. And so in “wishing” for something to be true, you are fueling its complete inability to happen. Don’t “wish” to be different – choose to be different and then make it happen.

  21. I am a permission-giver (a.k.a. troublemaker tee hee!)
    I am one of the most loving, non-judgmental people you’ll ever meet
    I am a living goddess
    I AM…

    (This is fun! Thanks for playing, Meg!)

  22. Thanks, Marita. When I thought about it, there were too many descriptors to list and none of them (or even all of them) could describe me in sufficient detail to make it functional. So what it came down to for me was an energetic. Because I am only ever defined by perception – how you perceive me, how I perceive myself and those perceptions are very much energy-based. And so, I felt like saying “Engage me and you’ll begin to understand. Embrace me and you’ll know more. Love me and you will grok in fullness.”

  23. I once went through a process of completely dismantling my foundation. I spent three weeks completely undefined. (Let me tell you, it’s hard to walk around when you don’t know where your edges are – I ran into a lot of door frames.) And when I finally put myself back together again, I found that there had been pieces left out – pieces I thought were integral parts of the authentic me. And yet, the person I had become didn’t need them anymore. It was jarring to see those parts still lying on the floor, but they were in fact not relevant anymore – no matter how relevant they had been before.

    Sometimes it’s important to fracture. Sometimes it’s important to heal. And sometimes it’s necessary to sit in pieces while you wait for the right moment to come along to begin building anew.

  24. Yes, both the “good” and the “bad”. I think a lot of people get confused between who they “are” and who they have become to make everyone else happy (or to avoid being ridiculed), It is often of process of peeling back the layers to discover yourself once more. After that, it’s a matter of coming to accept and embrace what you’ve found.

  25. Dear Jackie,

    My experience has been that the people who like to tell you that who you are is wrong are simply projecting how they feel about themselves onto you. You don’t have to own their inner discomfort. In fact, you might just free up their inner rebel a bit if you ignore their projections and be you with passion!

    You Go Girl!

  26. Brandy – you have a poet’s heart (and words). My biggest challenge with being “big” (energetically, not physically) is that people are often asking me to define myself for them. And I don’t want to. Especially in the business world where the sound bite is king, people want that quick summation of who we are. And yet, the most famous women haven’t been able to be pigeonholed. Think of Marilyn Monroe and Madonna and Oprah. They each have their niche, but no one would try to categorize all of who they are – part of their allure is the enigma they represent. That’s how I am. I have a niche – and I’m too big even for that. I think you might be feeling the same way, yes?

  27. Dear Jessica,

    I’ve been there, many times in my various businesses over the years, I’ve put my heart and soul into something only to discover that it became something I didn’t want at all as I twisted myself into a pretzel to make myself “more marketable”. (Sounds like my early romantic relationships now that I think about it. Hmmm. I’m sensing another blog post here somewhere.) Going back to basics – a.k.a. back to yourself – is a great start to rediscovering your passion and your profitability.

  28. I’d say that I’m pretty much an expert on change having been through a lifetime of it. And I do agree that it gets easier as you do it more. But I also discovered that making changes is easier when they are changes that you have chosen rather than those that have been thrust upon you. Having had an entire year of those type of changes, I can say that they are MUCH harder. Again, though, I’d say that this is likely because our resistance to them is so much higher.

  29. I’m going to give an answer similar to Nona- I am a constantly growing and expanding version of me!

    I’m always changing, from the color of my hair, to my beliefs about what is possible in my world. But I still remain consistently me.
    Smiling, laughing,taking a stand of self -expression and being my freaky self.

    Thanks for creating the space to show up in Kelle!

  30. Great question! I love the idea of aligning our intentions with our actions. I am the sum of all my parts, the parts I choose to show, the parts I’m aware of having and even those parts of which I’m still unaware. Sometimes I feel a bit like a chameleon, as I can fit in quite easily by showing the part of me that is truly accepting of others, and infinitely compassionate. We’re truly free, I believe, when we can honestly accept “all parts of ourselves”.

  31. Dear Bri,
    I love the fairy tale reference because it always makes me think of the “Mirror mirror on the wall – who’s the fairest of them all?” question and how different the story would have been if the mirror had simply responded – “My Queen, it is not the beauty on the outside that matters – it is what is held within it. Seek to expand your happiness from within rather than competing with others and your beauty with expand exponentially.”

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