26 March, 2009

Who Am I

At times I am quite curious as to how others see me.  What do they see when I come into the coffee shop with my hair pulled back wearing leggings and the largest, warmest flannel shirt I can find?  I am not interested in anything but picking up the cup of coffee or being warm as I move from this to that location.  I don’t think twice about how I appear until… I do?  How do this look and this attitude define me?  What does it say about who I am?

An hour later I look completely different.  Dressed for the office, my hair is down, heels are on, and I am ready for a meeting with whomever  on whatever topic.  This person appears to be a different person than my early morning, get my coffee persona, or does it?

Throughout our lives we evolve.  We are continually given opportunities to find more of ourselves; to redefine or further define who we are and how we fit into this world.  It is not only an interesting process to experience or observe, but it is one to which we can all relate. 

But learning to define ourselves is difficult.  Perhaps the definition changes?  Perhaps we are dogmatic in the definition that we use?  Perhaps we need others in order to see ourselves? 

Often we rely upon others for a definition.  Often we tie ourselves to a role or another person and assume that to be our identity.  Perhaps we try this or that identity (as many teen aged kids do) in an attempt to determine who we are and which one works best.

We find ourselves through experience and life.  We discover our likes and dislikes as well as our talents, strengths and weaknesses.  Our relationships with others (with everyone) allow us to see ourselves in different situations.  Other don’t define us as much as they shine the light on different parts of our personalities.

In the end, the identity of each is self determined – or maybe that is the ideal?  Perhaps that is what each strives to achieve, to be able to determine one’s identity without external assistance in that process?

I have heard people say that they like themselves better when they are in a relationship.  This fascinates me as a relationship enriches my life, but I don’t know that I am any different in or out of a relationship?  The relationship does not define me; it doesn’t determine who I am. 

The entire subject has me thinking – how do we define ourselves?  How do we determine the person that we are?  How much is choice and how much is based on our environment or our personality?

4 comments:

Dingo said...

This is something we've been discussing a great deal in my classes lately -- the masks we wear and whether our personalities are truly who we are or reflections of how other people see us.

I think it's a mixture of both. I think when there is an imbalance we lose sight of who we are. Are we depending solely on others to define us or are we so blind to how others see us that we have a vision of ourselves that just isn't accurate?

I think part of our evolution of the definition of who we are is trying to find the balance.

dadshouse said...

Fascinating topic. I'm in the camp that says you need to know yourself and love yourself, and not judge or compare yourself to others. Am I happier in a relationship? Not sure. Sometimes I think yes, because in a relationship there is built in sex and companionship, as well as support. Sometimes I think no, because I go such long stretches when I'm not in one, and I'm at peace.

Mark said...

A lot to consider. My first question is why must we define ourselves, why can't we simply "be"? We should not limit ourselves by placing labels or definitions upon our selves.

Mama Llama said...

I have just recently started to finally define myself in my terms, rather than how others see me. Why should I really care? Hard to do...well, hard to undo. And that is the Me of today. Tomorrow is always another story.

Good topic, lots of food for thought there, TE.

Enjoy the rain! Be well.