Self and Identity – Who the fuck am I
For a while I\’ve had an obsession with the concept of self, more specifically true self. This started when I began to look more closely at quotes such as \”accept yourself\” or \”love yourself\” or \”destroy your ego and become your true self\”. Every time I read something that went along those lines I found myself asking the same question over and over:
WHO THE FUCK AM I
I started to constantly meditate and contemplate to try and find something in me. I was trying to find some sort of core that I could call me. I thought that once I found that I would find happiness but I could not find anything. The closest thing I could find was ego.
Today I\’ve had a realization though. What if there is no self, no core. What if instead we are the culmination of the habits we preform everyday. What if our \”identities\” simply lie in the way we live our lives.
I think the conclusion I\’ve come to would be we are what we consistently do. What do you guys think? These are just my thoughts whether you love em or hate em please write feedback and leave some of your own.
@moonglade, I think if you stopped trying to figure out who you are that you may find yourself. Keep meditating, but don’t try to get anything from it. Just observe the moment as it is. If done repetitively your life will change in a way you would never have thought possible.
@moonglade, I agree with a lot of what you said. Similar to what @splashartist said, it sounds like you are trying very hard to find yourself. Finding yourself comes with time, it is not something that happens over night. Please don’t be hard on yourself for questioning your identity- it is a very normal process that most people go through.
In terms of what you stated above, I am not so sure that I believe our actions are the only thing that represent who we are. After all, we think and feel so much more than we actually express. We have “souls” that somehow allow us to feel a certain way. I think that it is our passions that define who we are… because these are the things that drive us to keep going in this world. If this is what you mean by a culmination of habits then I agree with what you stated above. I think that the first step to figuring out who you are involves figuring out what you are passionate about, and figuring out what you truly enjoy doing. If you cannot think of something then maybe it is time to actively explore different interests, or try to remember what you loved doing as a child. You may find you still love to do those same things.
I wish you the best of luck in all of your endeavors. Remember, it’s a journey! Try not to speed up the process; it will surely come with time. As long as you are open to try new things and to pursue what you love, I am confident that you will gain a better understanding of who you really are.
@moonglade, give this some thought – http://www.highexistence.com/spoiler-alert-you-do-not-exist
@moonglade, i love love love your conclusion! To add to that, i think that doing what makes us happy helps us define ourselves.
@moonglade, This is my first reply in HE but I had been following it long enough, and nice to hear someone understands what I do. Even Iam in the verge of realizing(not understanding) self. Till now, Ive understood that there is a duality in us and the universe (like dual nature of light ),
U are on the path.. just contemplate what your mind is trying to do on the logic of self???
“The self is nothing!! and It is everything!!!”
Iam open to discussion and brain stroming…
What you’ve stumbled upon is what gurus and spiritual teachers alike try to guide their students towards. It is inevitable that when you try to figure out who you are, find the thinker behind the thoughts, your core, etc. you come to discover it’s not there! It explained in zen as peeling an onion to look for a core—here you are tearing through the things you think you “are” hoping to make a discovery only to find that it’s gone! Just when you were sure it was there it disappeared. If you know this ahead of time it can save yourself a lot of frustration and confusion.
But you know it’s not :)
Nice. Look for my article recently posted on HE, “If You’re Not Born With It, It’s Not Yours. Consider the possibility that there’s nothing to do, nowhere to go, no practice(s) to follow. “That which you seek you already are”. You exist. You have always existed. What we “do” and our mental activities operate on a superficial level as we all do. Even realized masters and gurus still function on the superficial level: they still eat, sleep, shit, are affected by their human body, etc. Here are some words from Bentinho Massaro (google him): “I traveled through India for about 5-1/2 months. And I met some swamis there as well – meditation teachers – and I just felt that I couldn’t do it any more. I couldn’t believe in yet another system, another philosophy, another theoretical: you have to do this, you have to do that because then you become something – it just felt so unnatural. So when I really realized that this is unnatural. Life isn’t thinking in terms of states of mind and purification. We are superimposing all of that – all of that philosophical structure. When i realized that, I kinda gave up believing in what the teachers were telling me and the books were telling me. And I started to relax into my own natural presence.”
I was thinking about this a while ago and found this explanation somewhere:
That’s the wrong question. Instead ask “Who do I want to be?” Then go out and be that person.
If you don’t know who that person is, then you’ll need to figure it out. The best way to do this is through trial and error. Open up the filter between your brain and your mouth; just say stuff, whatever you feel like saying. If you say something and then feel bad about it, make a mental note not to say that kind of thing again. Do stuff that seems fun and interesting*; again, if you regret it, just make sure not to do that thing again. Meet lots of new people. Say things to them and do things with them. If you decide you don’t like them, or being around them makes you feel bad, then meet different people. Let your emotions run a little wild: get hopping mad over political arguments, laugh at every joke you see, and cry your heart out at the end of movies.
This is all easier said than done, I know, but you can’t develop a personality through introspection alone. This isn’t about digging down through layers and layers to find some unmovable kernel of self; the self is not a kernel. The self is a filter, a way of deciding what to do and what to not do. You can’t refine the filter without, well, doing stuff and seeing what happens, seeing whether you like it or not. And this is good! Doing stuff is fun! It’s educational! It’s what life is all about!
Deliberately filtering your actions and words might seem fake at first, like you’re wearing a mask, but really, we’re all wearing masks all the time. That is the human condition. The way you be honest about it is by making sure you’re always wearing a mask that you like. If you don’t like the mask, the filter, the self, then change it! Start acting differently! It really is that simple (even if it’s not that easy).
Whenever I find myself thinking about “who am I?” I always go back to one of my favorite quotes: “Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself!” ~ Unknown
@moonglade, I’m sailing the same ship of confusion lately too. I think maybe it was generated by a summer class I took revolved completely around identity and self. When we had to submit a conclusive project summarizing who we are morally, down to the core, etc., I found myself totally dumbfounded. Every time I thought of something, I immediately thought “No…that’s not me, is it?” I think it’s a medley of life events that is contributing to my identity crisis, and at times it is frightening and frankly depressing. However, it is a little exciting. When something traumatic happens to us, we have the opportunity to work with the broken pieces and re-mold ourselves. But I do think that over-thinking can create problems that were never there to begin with; so I agree with your approach of just letting go and notice what you do naturally. The less we think, the more we do. With that, over time, we might find ourselves. Emancipating one’s self from mental slavery is a hard thing to do. But if we practice we can get there. Compare it to practicing a musical instrument or exceeding an exercise milestone. Life is full of actors, adopting the role of whom they think they should be. But if we let go of that picture in our mind of how it is supposed to be, we may be free of this ambivalence.
I was thinking about this today, and came across this picture on here that helped me understand. http://www.highexistence.com/images/view/interests/
@moonglade, I think you may have come to the conclusion (and forgive me if I’m wrong) that there is no ‘you’, but in doing so you’re assuming that at the core of every human being there is ‘nothing’, that ‘you’ are a product of nature and nurture of your parents, plus the influence of society. However, there is a ‘you’ and it exists in the choices that you make,etc.. So, i think part of you’re conclusion (you-being what you do/how we live our lives) is true, but further the conclusion that there is no self/ego/spirit is not. My understanding comes from Dr. Dan Baker’s book “What Happy People Know”, which I highly recommend. -E.B.
@moonglade, I don’t really get why people place so much emphasis on who they really are and stuff like the search for God or universal oneness, all this spirituality stuff. I remember I used to persue that stuff but that was when I was lost. What you do is focus on your strengths, do the best you can, but what you really need is to find your passion.
|Obviously, you’re not a golfer|
@moonglade, I think only you can answer that.
@moonglade, Don’t get me wrong, contemplating all manner of things can be a passion in itself, but the moment you begin to place expectations on something you simply set yourself up for disappointment. Persue things for thrill of the ride, not for whatever the destination may hold.
@moonglade, Although that conclusion seems deep and to make sense and everyone likes to say that yes you should do away with the thought of who you are I struggle with it. Now this isnt because of some deep realization or even well thought out process….
Im not sure if anyone else can relate but there are people that I have known for many years for example some of my best friends and while people change… go to different places, do different things, change there habits I always have this feeling of who they are… as if no matter what “mask” as someone put it earlier they are wearing at the time there is something about everyone that makes them who they are. This is not a feeling I get based on how they are ACTING for any given period of time ,even if its a habit of how they act for a long time For example there are people who if you solely based my opinion on them from there actions they would appear to be very trustworthy however I would never trust them.
Now that maybe seemingly unrelated explanation being said while I get this feeling about other people I can never seem to find that feeling about how I think of my SELF so I think a good excercise maybe to find out who YOU are now is to ask someone you trust what they REALLY think of you…. but you would have to find someone you trust to really be honest about what they think of you and maybe from that you can gather what might take hours of biased(because how you look at your actions is pre justified) introspection to discover someone else might simply be able to tell you.
I concur with what @trek79 said but instead of focusing on your passions I’d focus on your strengths (as he mentioned in his first post) instead of passion. Passions can be wishy-washy. Also concur with setting expectations always leads to disappoint of some level.
@trek79, You think all passions are good?
@cognizantelephant, The funny thing about passions is they can be hard work, stressful, cause obsession, drive you nuts, they can even make you miserable. So are they all good? That is the last word I’d use to describe any passion, let alone all of them. The thing is they are the wildest ride that makes you feel alive, they make it worth it. When your life is going swimmingly but you just don’t give a shit, this torture will hit and you say “So that’s why I’m alive”.
@moonglade you have it exactly right! Your identity lives within other people. I dont want to come off religious, but think JESUS. He lived for others not himself. He wasnt wondering around trying to figure out who he was, but just was. He was helping others with PURE intentions. Its hard, i know! Everybody knows! All religion and spirituality aside, if you live life to the purest, you will not have any regret anything and it will be to the fullest. You will begin to catch yourself just doing (pure), instead of living it in a way the you are self conscious about everything you do. Instead of looking in for yourself, look out. Your eyes arent facing inwards, theyre facing out. Now create.
@moonglade you are who you are at the every now moment
@trek79, It is funny, a dark kind of funny lol. Who’s to say that our perceptions of what we’re enjoying accurately represent what we want? To me having a passion is like being able to lose yourself in something, where the rest of the world speeds by as you and this thing you’ve found combine into something that you can’t begin to describe. Such fleeting moments! But I’d have to say that pursuing any passion could be dangerous. Pursuing something you can’t at the moment justify is paradoxical.
“the self is not a kernel.”
so very true.. loving your insight into this.
@edwardbernays, This advice is great advice for people who wish to be miserable in life. For instance, I have a great analytic business mind that would be great for many business positions.
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