Who Are You?

self1My hope is that someone reading this may find what I have to say helpful. I’m pretty random when it comes to posts because different encounters, experiences, feelings and moods determine what I write, and while this may not be “professional” (most advice about blogging suggests that the blogger stick to a particular style and/or topic) I continue to blog in an arbitrary fashion because writing is a form of expression and when I do take the time to write something I want it to fully express how I’m feeling at that moment in time.

Tonight, I’m feeling both reflective and determined but I’ll be honest with you, I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to express what I need to say in a concise and coherent fashion for two reasons: the first being that the subject matter is very close to my heart and I find the whole subject quite emotional and secondly, whilst I would very much like to, I am unable to divulge the personal account that has led to the views and opinions expressed in this blog without incriminating others and betraying confidences. I will however try my best despite these obstacles.

The point I want to convey is the importance of knowing yourself. This consists of knowing who you are as a person; what you will and will not tolerate; your successes and failures; your positive and negative traits; your strengths and your weaknesses; your fears, your dreams – everything. Know yourself as fully as possible because this knowledge is priceless and will help you greatly throughout your life.

The inability to define ourselves through our own self-knowledge mediwill lead to others defining us according to their own motives resulting in us feeling as though we need to fall in line with these external definitions. This WILL lead to problems because when others define you, you become their property, their object to do with as they please and this can be dangerous.

Some years ago I was involved in something that, looking back, I realise I had no business being involved with. It wasn’t anything illegal or dangerous but had I known myself as well as I do now I would have kept on walking. This isn’t to say that I didn’t know who I was at the time, or that the experience was wasted, but rather the experience helped to clarify what, in my heart I already knew but didn’t have the confidence to accept. (And no, I’m not gay just in case that’s what sprung to mind, although given the nature of the situation, coming out as gay may have been easier!)

I was determined when I made the decision to put myself in the situation that I wasn’t going to allow anyone to brainwash me or make me compromise my values, and for the most part I made good on this promise. What I didn’t anticipate though was the many other ways the situation would challenge me; it challenged how I viewed myself, my albinism, my culture, and the world in general. It also made me question my own worth and my ability to form functional relationships with people.

ArisWhilst the situation wasn’t all bad there was certainly more bad than good and after some time I finally made the decision to leave and I was able to do so because having dealt with my own issues of low self-esteem I realised that I valued myself far too much to be taken advantage of. I also knew enough about myself at this point to know that the thing I was involved in ran, for the most part, contrary to who I am. People tried to tell me otherwise but no one knows me better than I know myself and that’s the way it should be.

Some people aren’t so lucky though. We hear stories all the time of people afraid to leave abusive relationships, people unable to break away from gangs and people of faith afraid to leave religious cults. Through no fault of their own they have found themselves in situations where they are subjected to other people’s definitions of who they are and who they ought to be because, for whatever reason, their lack of self-knowledge has made them unable to define themselves.

It’s not indulgent to take time out to get to know yourself, nor is it selfish to remove yourself from people or situations that insist on you being anything other than your true self purely for their own ends. Any changes we make to ourselves should be based solely on the changes we want to make for our own personal growth and development, and those changes should be compatible with our true nature. Anything else is a lie and a dangerous one at that because trying to be anything other than yourself will eventually bring nothing but confusion, inner turmoil and pain.

4 thoughts on “Who Are You?

  1. Interesting, however , without all the different experiences we cannot find out who we really are. I find that people nowadays tend to be afraid of”being themselves” and would rather ”fit-in”

    • Very true. And also true is that the experiences do help us to find out who we are, the trick is to learn from them as opposed to allowing ourselves to succumb to them (the negative experiences that is!)

  2. ‘The inability to define ourselves through our own self-knowledge will lead to others defining us according to their own motives resulting in us feeling as though we need to fall in line with these external definitions.’ Sounds like a description of peer pressure! Very insightful. Thanks for sharing

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