This is a question that has plagued mankind for millennium. There are whole philosophies and religions that attempt to help us answer this question.
I think about this a lot. Who am I as a person? There are a lot of different approaches to answering this question; one of the suggestions I see and hear a lot is “define yourself and write it down”. I started to really think on this approach, and I think that, while it can be quite beneficial to know yourself, there is a massive hurdle to getting there.
Few people are truly that honest with themselves. Many people lie to themselves every day, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse, and I don’t think that an exercise like this can be done properly without extreme self awareness and self honesty.
What happens when you try to figure out who you are, write it down, but get it wrong? What happens when you write down who you want to be, or who you used to be? When you write down this definition are you wishing yourself to be this person, or setting yourself up for disappointment? What happens when you write down an accurate assessment of yourself and then realize you don’t like yourself? I don’t think that an exercise like this can be done without guidance.
I’ve had the idea for this blog, and been trying to define myself for a while. I try really hard to be an optimist in life, but I’m very much a pessimist with self evaluation and self assessment. I know that these personality traits are colouring my self definition, but trying to find positive things about myself is genuinely challenging. I’m a very poor judge of myself.
There are many situations in life that are considered by many to be defining moments. Most of the ones that pop to mind are fraught with danger, or life threatening, and while I’m fortunate to have never been involved in a situation like that, there is a part of me that wishes I had. I don’t know if I would be the kind of person that would run toward the danger, or run away. I would hope that I would be the former, but my self honesty requires me to admit that I don’t know, and won’t, know until it happens, if it ever does.
My definition of who I am is not likely to be something I will make public, and not just because its intensely personal, but also because I don’t really want to debate it with just anyone. I may share it with my wife and with close friends, but I may not. Its difficult to trust someone with even an inaccurate definition of yourself.