This man says it’s time to get rid of the external noise and get honest about who you are and what you want.
Well, who are you? (Who are you, who who, who who)
I really want to know (Who are you, who who, who who)
Tell me, who are you? (Who are you, who who, who who)
‘Cause I really want to know (Who are you, who who, who who)
Lyrics from “Who are You? by Peter Townsend of…the Who
When you get your “Who Am I?” questions right, all of your “What should I do?” questions tend to take care of themselves
Richard Rohr, Falling Upwards
Who are you? I want to know!
Who are you where it matters most? On your inside. Most often, it seems that we are defined by, and live by, our outer roles and activities.
You are first, your name. “I am ____ _______.” Then, you may be your various identities within your family. “I am a son (a brother, father, husband).” After that, you may identify yourself by where you live, the size of your home, the car you drive and your other stuff you own.
Profession and Activities
Then, you may be what you do do for a living or your schooling. “I am a _________.” After that, you may see yourself as your hobbies, and your leisure time activities.
But, Who are You on the Inside?
We all have thoughts and feelings. Are you the thoughts that flow through your head? Are you the feelings that you have in your body? That is if you even have an awareness of your feelings. Men can be great at denying that they have feelings.
We all have beliefs and values. Are you your beliefs and your values? Those get you closer to your core. They get you closer to what is truly inside you. Your beliefs and values will form the way you see yourself, the way you see the world, and how you act.
As a young boy, I was a baseball player, the anxious oldest child of 3 kids, and just a confused kid on the block growing up in suburban Chicago.
As a teenager, I was an anxious raging-with-hormones athlete in a “gang” of other self-impressed and entitled guys. A fair student, and casualty of a “broken home” (as they called it back then).
As a young adult, I was an ambitious, anxious, money-focused new attorney, husband and father desperately trying to keep it all together.
As a middle aged man, I was a divorced, money-focused lawyer and father desperately trying to make monthly payroll, rent, alimony, and child support payments.
At the half-century mark, I am a proud father of two young adults, a grateful friend, a seeker of salvation and faith, and committed to being of service on this earth and not a grumbler and complainer.
Great or Terrible?
Are you a miraculous creation of the heavens destined for greatness? Are you a needy, consuming, deteriorating creature destined for compost material?
The proposition is that you will be well served by asking and answering the question “Who am I?” To know who we are helps us to make good decisions. To know who we are helps us to create and then live into a vision. Knowing who we are provides a buffer in the storms of life and allows us to hold fast to our center.
If you believe you are a simply a needy consumer of resources (and we all are in some ways, right?), then your actions will reflect that belief. Your orientation will be to acquire and consume.
If you believe you are simply a spiritual being that is here to absorb and transmit the energy of the cosmos (and we all have some of this, right?), then your actions will reflect that belief. You will look for ways to receive and then give love.
“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the world.” Marcus Aurelius
How do we know who we are? Some people seem to live powerfully from a deep conviction of who they are. They have plumbed their depths. Other people seem to be like tumbleweeds tossed about by the wind.
There is a multitude of practices and processes that can help you to answer the critical question of who you are.
Practices and Exercises to Find your Insides
Examples of practices:
- periods of quiet solitude
These practices can provide information on who you are inside. They will give you space to slow down to shut out the onslaught of demands and messages. The practices can allow the inner pieces of you to bubble up for you to see and feel them.
Examples of exercises:
- strengths finder
- values finder
- what is most important to me list
- who and what consistently make me happy list
The above practices and exercises are intentional methods of drawing out the thoughts, feelings and beliefs that define you.
No single practice or exercise will necessarily give you “the” answer to who you are. But each of these pieces will help give you clues and insights into who you are. And, life itself will test you on your conclusions.
The result of answering the question of who you are is that you, and those in your circle, will reap benefits. You will get clarity on who you are and who you are not. If you know who you are, you have a point of reference from which to make decisions. If you know who you are not, you can learn to say “no” to people, places and things that will not serve you. When you have clarity on who you are, you can say yes to people, places and things where you are more likely to flourish and not.
Photo: Flickr/ Imo