Who am I? This is a question that I have constantly asked myself for as long as I can remember. Finally today, I have started to get a better understanding of who I am.
I had this image of myself as a human being who had certain values that drove my decisions and actions. I was a human being who had some goals, likes, dislikes, weaknesses, strengths, dreams, hopes, and aspirations. I was a human being who leveraged her values to determine what was good and what was bad. I judged others around me using the same lens. Made friends and sometimes enemies based on my experiences with those individuals.
Last year I got into an argument with a friend about who is good and who is a bad human being. She claimed that people are not bad and that everyone deserves a chance to explain themselves. I took it personally and countered by saying that some people don’t deserve a second chance and that they are bad because of the impact of their actions (E.g., rapes). After arguing for hours about nothing in particular we recognized that we had different ways to look at the world. If only I could tell her today that she was right. No one is good or bad, only our thoughts and actions have an impact on those around us which determines the influence that we have in our society. It does not make the individual bad but requires work on the part of the individual to heal whatever is broken within them that made them inflict pain on those around them and, inadvertently, on themselves.
You see, the way we understand the world around us and even ourselves is based on our perceptions. Our understanding is dependent on the knowledge that we have at the moment which determines how we perceive the truth around us. If a child never saw his/her parents fight, he/she might grow up assuming that successful couples never fight. However, the child’s truth is based on what he/she sees or experiences. The real truth might be that while the parents fought, they never brought their fight in front of their children. So when the child grows up and faces arguments in a relationship, he/she might deem that to be an unsuccessful relationship because it goes against every belief that he/she has had since childhood.
But our perceptions are only based on a limited amount of knowledge that we have access to. As a kid, I believed that a person can only be happy if they have an immense amount of money that could help them buy anything and everything in this world. Now as an adult, I know that that’s only a quarter of the truth. While money can help lead a comfortable life because of the way our society works, my happiness does not have a linear relationship with the money that I have. Instead, my happiness is a result of a large number of factors that all contribute to making me feel happy – relationships, friendships, family, nature, spirituality, psychology, physical health, mental health, career, personal development, hobbies, wealth, etc. I am sure the more I mature, the more reasons I will find to keep myself happy.
While growing up, I heard people say that any individual is essentially a factor of a combination of the people he/she hangs out with. But that confused me even more because my connections are quite diverse. Sometimes the friends who I hang out with are so different from each other that they don’t even find a common topic to discuss. While my values aligned with some people, others had a completely different set of values. Despite the differences, I still shared a connection with them, though, the nature of each relationship was quite different.
Psychology helped play a role in helping me understand why I behaved the way I did or why I thought the way I did. It helped uncover my thought patterns, triggers, and wounds that had shaped me into the individual I am. However, once I started working on these wounds and modifying my thought patterns, was I still me? If my thoughts, actions, and desires determine who I am, then, the definition of me is changing constantly which means I am changing constantly. If I am changing constantly, then, why worry about how I define myself or how others perceive me? After all, it’s all a perception.
So who am I? From where I stand today, I see myself observing the experiences that I have experienced in the past but not being the one going through those experiences. I am the one experiencing my present but I am not limited to a certain experience or perception of me. My values are dependent on my perception of what’s right and wrong, my actions are dependent on my thoughts which are dependent on the knowledge that I possess at a given time, my relationships are dependent on my interactions with those around me which, in turn, is a factor of time and communication between two individuals.
I am all of what I think I am and I am also the one who is doing the thinking. I am a spectator to my own journey looking at myself from the lens of what I know but I am also the spectator looking at myself going through life with all these perceptions. I am everything that I feel I am but I am also the one feeling these emotions. I am way beyond what I can imagine because my imagination is limited to what I know. I am the one writing this article, I am the one who got this epiphany of who I am and I am also the one cherishing my growth. I am anyone I want to be because I am not limited by my knowledge or my experiences.
I am my Soul, I am my Higher Self, I am my Creator, I am my Divine Love, I am you and I am me. The world I choose to see is a reflection of what I know. If I don’t limit myself to the lens of my perceptions, then, that changes my perception of what’s me and what’s beyond me. There is no me and there is no you. There is just us constantly observing each other through our lens. We are all living a dream and we’re all in this together constantly influencing each other to look beyond our realities. And by that definition of me, the I dissolves and there is only us. So who am I? I am nothing and I am everything.