Who are you ? How did you become this person you call " myself" ?

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    This has always boggled my mind since I was a child. Now as a student of life it fascinates me even more.
    How do you guys define yourself. Who are you ? How did you become who you are ?

    I joined this forum a few months ago, in the midst of a personal and relationship crisis. The wisdom everyone shared has been really therapeutic. Over the years, my own self concept has been somewhat wishy washy and now that I am beginning to go deeper into the realm of self awareness, I experience more confusion, restlessness and frustration. And all these other emotions that I was somewhat oblivious to. I don’t know if others can relate to this. I always took shortcuts aka these low effort mental heuristics about who I am. When people asked me this question, my automatic thinking said ” you know who you are”. But the more deeper I go into finding the answers, the more confused, frustrated and angry I get. Not to forget all the energy it takes.

    What makes you guys you ? Your experiences, your inner being ( that some of us are lucky to be aware of ) your relationships, your values, your attitudes? When I attribute the nature of events taking place in my life to external factors ( current situations/ past experiences ) I feel empowered. But this empowerment is momentarily. I cannot help but also attribute the same nature of pain/ pleasure to internal traits as well. I’d like to have some responsibility of being in control of the events that take place in my life. Obviously taking responsibility comes with a price. Taking accountability of ” letting something ” happen to us. That is a hard one to live with. Where do you guys draw the line ? And I would love to find out how did others in a similar situation found out and know who they are ? Can we really have clear cut definition for this as human beings ? After all we do share a collective consciousness. I know I probably sound like a lost little brat to the more experienced and self aware crowd. But I will be almost 25 soon and before I into my quarter life crisis ( which I am about to), I’d like to hear from from others who have had similar internal crisis at some point in their lives. Any wisdom is much appreciated.

    – Zita

    • This topic was modified 9 years, 11 months ago by Zita.
    The Ruminant

    Hello Zita!

    You don’t sound like a lost little brat, and you shouldn’t call yourself that.

    This particular crisis hasn’t been that strong for me, but other major crises in my life lead to my own vision of my “self”.

    I was going through a turmoil, where a lot of things that I had believed in just shattered. My view of myself being one of those things. My mind just sort of cracked and I allowed it to. What I felt was just peace and deep understanding. “I” no longer existed in that moment, and I just felt like this being full of love. When I thought about things, I didn’t respond to the thoughts as I usually would have, but just with love and understanding. I wouldn’t say that I felt connected to everything, but after that experience, I did often think about other people and how they would have a similar structure. That what I see in them, who they seem to be is not the totality of who they are, and what is underneath is more similar than different.

    After those experiences, I lost the fear of an identity crisis. Who I am is more than my body and my personality. It helps me to be more flexible, and it’s good to be flexible, I think. I remember reading this short story on a website with Osho writings. I’ll paraphrase the story here:

    It was about an army man, who knew his abilities and shortcomings and was very realistic about how to approach things. Osho called him a very brave man. The man himself at first said that he wasn’t brave, because he was actually afraid of things. Osho said that that’s what made him brave. The man accepted this idea. He then started to think of himself as a brave man and subsequently lost his ability to be realistic. He finally found himself in a situation where he was scared and realized that he wasn’t brave at all. His bravery wasn’t a fixed personality trait, but spawned from other qualities in him.

    I think the story illustrates the problem with having strong beliefs about who you actually are. Us humans have the unfortunate quality that we are able to mix imagination and reality, and if we truly believe that we are something, then we live as we are that thing, even if we actually aren’t. Then when we are forced to face the reality, our world shatters and we face a crisis of the self.

    So I say, be flexible 🙂 Does it matter who you are? If and when someone asks me what am I like as a person, I often respond that I’m a very typical Aquarian, regardless of if you believe in that or not. I have many of the qualities ascribed to Aquarians. I’m still not going to take it too seriously. I’d rather be flexible and try to allow my true nature to come out at all times. If you believe that you are a certain type and hold onto that belief, then it would constrain you. You wouldn’t be able to be authentic anymore, because you’d think that “I am a person who’s so I must respond to this situation in a certain way”. Who you are will become apparent at every turn, and even if you didn’t know who you are, you still wouldn’t be lost, because you’re still alive, in your body.

    If you think about it, the whole “who am I?” question with feelings of being lost is kind of absurd. There you are. There. Where you are right now 🙂 And you are who you are.


    Dear Zita,

    As a 22 year old, i can identify with this question – my identity crises took off on full throttle since i was 19. I have the following insights to offer –

    We are forever a work-in-progress – really beautiful but evolving creatures.

    I used to keep wondering about “Who am I?” “What is the meaning of life?” “Why am i here?” kind of questions. The first one i remember thinking was when i was a kid. The question was “Whats the point of living if my parents die? I will be all alone” – I remember asking this to a teacher and she was alarmed that i was depressed or something but i wasnt. Still, that nagging question did remain at the back of my mind for years. Then came the “Why am i here? Who am I?” questions.

    So there questions do arise at some point. What i have learnt after a great deal of turmoil, depression and certain unpleasant instances is that –

    1) Learn to appreciate life instead of questioning and nit-picking it every second – we must really be present in the moment to feel alive and mesmerized.

    2) Truly fall in love with life and ourselves – Love is unconditional, isnt it? You will never entirely know what you’re truly capable of. You might never really know “who you are” – maybe you’ll have an idea but the entire picture cant ever be estimated – do you know why? Because you are already changing as you proceed with life

    Dont judge this person you are presently. She is so wonderful anyway. However, sometimes you will feel you need to change some things consciously about yourself – in those times, change takes a great deal of love to last- when we love ourselves enough to change in a positive way, it will happen.

    At this moment, I am someone who wants to see what i can really do – get rid of these fears, be more involved in my community, experience different things, learn to stop judging others that much. That doesnt mean that i am already not awesome anyway 😛 I believe i am 🙂 Maybe i will make mistakes and things will go wrong beyond my control – Life is unpredictable…Whatever it is, the most important thing is that i know i will be okay eventually – i will pick up the pieces and go on.

    You need to believe in how wonderful and strong you are as well – love this person without any conditions, trust yourself. Everyday, focus on how you’ve improved compared to yesterday.

    If you truly trust yourself, you’ll already know that you have the capability to deal with your mistakes and when you love unconditionally, it wont even hurt that much.

    Forgot who you are at this moment – just live this moment without judgement and understand what really makes your heart feel like singing. Zita, lastly, as twenty-somethings, this is our chance to explore, know our capabilities better, make more mistakes while trying to learn and loving ourselves despite these mistakes 🙂

    – Moon <3 <3


    Thanks The Ruminant

    Thanks Moongal @tsuki .. What an insightful post. I wish I had this level of maturity at 22. Just inspired to the max 🙂

    Hey Zita

    Moongal has made it really easy for you to answer the question that you have put forward.

    I found ME when I could finally answer the question – WHAT DO I WANT in a simple manner. I like being high on life so I do everything that keeps me that way without getting too attached to anything. Attachment brings expectations and when expectations are not fulfilled, it brings disappointment. Disappointment brings me down and stops me from enjoying my peaceful existence.

    Everyone has to answer their own question as to what do they want from themselves to find their ME. No one can help your with this ha ha ha so you are on your own gal !

    Have an awesome weekend.



    1) Accept myself inspite of imperfections and flaws

    2) Forgive myself, Forgive others who have brought pain into my life

    3) Purge all negative energy, got rid of my old friends who only robbed me of happiness and joy

    4) Remove hatred from my vocabulary and replaced it with ‘unconditional love’

    5) Began committing random acts of kindness with reckless abandonment

    6) Quit needing the approval of others

    7) Live in the moment, because in the blink of an eye everything could change

    8) Smile more often and enjoy my life


    You are all awesome and I love you guys for sharing your insights <3

    @theruminant You have beautifully explained one of my major dilemmas so far. I often struggle with having a concrete view of the self which can be defined. My friends, when asked who are they define themselves as ” confidant, independent, kind ECt ” and I could never pin it down to one or two or even a couple of things. You said ” who they seem to be is not the totality of who they are, and what is underneath is more similar than different ” – I actually read something very similar by Osho as well. Once I started coming to terms with this very realization, I do feel connected to people and realize that those that have hurt me in the past, they are also suffering in much pain ( pain that haven’t risen to their surface yet ) it’s such a beautiful concept once you get hold of it .
    It’s interesting how as human beings we have a fear of being lost or having a crisis. I myself have suffered from a fear of being weak, not able to handle it ect than actually being weak when the moment arises. I also see the fixation at times of having a fixed identity and beliefs about what we are and what we ” should be ” . Ah the should statements gets me the most :/ What I am – is changing in any given moment – very true, but don’t you think that sometimes having a fluid sense of self can also create conflict / crisis ? For me it creates confusion. For example – am I suppose to be strong in a given moment of pain or should I allow myself to break down and let it out of my system ? If I develop a pattern of breaking down each time ( since I allowed myself to ) then will I ever know what it is to be strong ? It’s hard to separate thoughts of what I am suppose to be and what I am . A positive supposition can sometimes be a self fulfilling prophecy you know. The whole idea of ” fake it till you make it ”

    But I do see your point. I was sitting on a small hill top in a park where two little kids (4-5 yr olds ) were trying to go around the hill today.
    The younger one said : ” I don’t see where we are going I don’t see the path”( in a worrisome tone )
    Older one responded : “Just keep walking you will see the path soon, it’s already there we just have to keep walking and we will see it ”
    I had a huge smile on my face after eaves dropping on their little talk . Haha things you learn from kids 😀

    • This reply was modified 9 years, 11 months ago by Zita.
    • This reply was modified 9 years, 11 months ago by Zita.
    • This reply was modified 9 years, 11 months ago by Zita.
    The Ruminant


    “What I am – is changing in any given moment – very true, but don’t you think that sometimes having a fluid sense of self can also create conflict / crisis ? For me it creates confusion. For example – am I suppose to be strong in a given moment of pain or should I allow myself to break down and let it out of my system ? If I develop a pattern of breaking down each time ( since I allowed myself to ) then will I ever know what it is to be strong ? It’s hard to separate thoughts of what I am suppose to be and what I am .”

    I don’t think that you are changing constantly, but the circumstances change and you do grow and learn all the time. I think that the whole point of being fluid (or authentic) is to not create patterns or respond to things with “should” and “supposed to”.

    I do think that everyone would benefit greatly from developing some skills like being patient. To not react to things without any thought, but to respond only after a moment of reflection. You can still respond to things with authenticity from your unique point of view. You’d just be doing it in a more mature way. It would be the mature version of yourself.

    I’ll ask you to think of this: who is asking you to define yourself and for what purpose? We strive to define our whole being in a few keywords, but why? It is one thing to list skills in a job interview, but to describe yourself as a person is kind of pointless.

    A person says that they are “confident, independent and kind”. They know it, and we know it, that they’re not those things 100% of the time. Some people aren’t those things most of the time, and they still describe themselves as such. For what purpose? So that we could treat them with prejudice instead of allowing them to show their true colours? It makes no sense when you really think about it.

    Even in dating ads, one should rather describe how they feel about things rather than saying who they think they are. Because in all honesty, a person who makes a big deal about being a kind person often is everything but. Probably because they believe that they are kind, so they have become blind to their own unkind actions. Cognitive dissonance: when you really believe something, you’re unable to process conflicting information and disregard it instead. Or, run into an identity crisis. Or believe your whole life that you are something bad, which you’re actually not, and that is a tragedy.

    But I digress. I guess you responded to the question of “why” in your story about the children. Having a definition of yourself makes you feel more safe, because then you have this clear place and identity in this life, and a readymade pattern of how you’ll behave in the future. You create your own destiny for yourself, which feels safer than allowing life and who you are to unfold naturally. Unfortunately life isn’t going to be any safer, life will still unfold itself all the time, but you might miss out on some of the things that are unfolded in you. You can’t see them, because you are looking at yourself through a definition you’ve created for yourself.

    The Ruminant

    Oh, and I would like to add one thing, as there is one definition I do think is important: you are worthy and you are loved.

    I have sometimes described the human personality as a unique tinted glass painting (you know those things in churches, for example). If there is no light coming through, the colors look muddy. If there is light coming through, the colors become vivid. The painting hasn’t changed, but it looks completely different.

    If we think of that analogy in the context of what we are discussing here, it would be terribly difficult of you to define what the painting actually looks like if the light keeps flickering. You need to uphold the light mindfully, to be radiant in each moment, but when you are radiant, there’s just the celebration of your own unique painting, and there is no reason to start describing it to others or to yourself. People can see it. You can see it. Then if you let the light dim or even die, you’ll just see these muddy colors in particular shapes. Does it matter if the painting is that of an eagle, if the colors are muddy? You’ll believe that you are a muddy eagle, and that’s not the whole truth.

    I hope that wasn’t a too confusing explanation 🙂



    • This reply was modified 9 years, 11 months ago by kapil.

    Thanks The Ruminant @theruminant. Just wow for your tinted glass analogy 🙂


    Okay, I need some advice. Again lol. The past decade, some of my family members have not treated my mother well. Just today, I was sending a FB message to my sister explaining to her how I didn’t like my mother being treated this way. Generally, there’s a double standard apparently, on how each parent is treated. My Mom’s side of the story? They’ll treat Dad as if he’s the greatest father in the world when he’s not. I can’t even deal with him now because I have issues with a bill. Long story short, he’s giving me the run around. Just like he always does.

    Have you ever wanted to just…stop drama entirely in your family, whether you were part of it or not? Everyone in my family needs to get over this divorce. My parents divorced a long time ago when I was nine years old. There was a time I wanted them together, but now I like that they’re separate. All they did was argue. My sister even had the nerve to say, “Oh you’re getting the facts wrong. I treat each parent equally.” Yea, doesn’t seem like it. I’m not worried about them beiyng on this site. My sisters are too preoccupied with their own lives to help others. Sometimes, I just want to scream. I could never bring anyone over my house. There is all of this petty drama that just can’t be let go. When I say drama, I mean, people want to play the blame game, no one wants to take responsibility, and everyone wants to do what THEY want to do. Doesn’t matter if it inconveniences others. Sometimes, it’s about me. Having an intellectual disability, they all claim on what’s best for me. Mom has been my biggest advocate. She probably always will be until she dies on her deathbed. Not that I would want that to happen. She’s the best. But now I’m doing the advocating for myself as well.

    Advice is genuinely appreciated. Live, laugh, love.


    Hi Aiyana

    Hey, I believe in simplicity and live and let live so my advice is going to be similar. You continue being in love with mom and looking after her. Don’t expect others to do the same. People don’t work that way, yeah. You cant convince people to do anything they do not wish to do be it family, friends, or anyone for that matter.

    Often the drama is in our hearts or minds and it gets projected outside. If you do not like drama, learn to say NO to it and simplify your life by assessing what is important and not important in life. Move on from things that do not serve a purpose or if you cant move on, accept them for what they are without expecting anything in return. Also, this site is great for resources that can help you simplify your life. Have a read of some of the articles posted on the main page.

    Sending a prayer for all loved ones daily helps to bring immense joy in your life as well as the other person. Perhaps, try that 🙂 if you are not already doing it.




    I always used a simpel goal to get the best and most of my life.

    (don’t take it to serious)

    “One day i’m gonna replace god, becouse i can be better than him”

    And since i’ve never been struck by lightning 😛 its a good goal, allowing me to life and dream without limitations 🙂

    And i’m not religious at all 🙂 i just don’t believe in accidents 🙂

    *a mistake only becomes an error when you refuse to correct it


    I like 6.

    I respect you the most for number 6.

    I believe we know when it’s good 🙂


    Thanks everyone. 🙂 This is great advice Jasmine. Yes I need to focus on my own wants and needs. That’s how my stress and anxiety started. It’s gotten better. But I can’t always handle traveling to different places or eating out. My stomach acts weird and I either end up in the bathroom, have a headache, or become sick. All because of someone I liked.

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