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Asking the tough questions – Who are you?

February 16, 2012

If a complete stranger asked “Who are you?,” how would you respond?

Would you respond with the roles that you play in life? Father, daughter, best friend, grandmother…

Or would you identify with your job? Engineer, yoga teacher, housewife, scientist…

Or would you describe yourself by your hobbies? Reader, hiker, karaoke queen, amateur spelunker…

Or would you deflect the question entirely? Maybe by asking in return “Why do you want to know?”

“Who are you?” is a simple yet important question because the response to it is so revealing. It tells others what you value and whom you value. Don’t consider a person’s answer as all-encompassing but it is a starting point in getting to know him/her. And it is your starting point to begin defining who you are – what you consider important, what you believe in, what to discard and eventually how you want people to think of you. There is no right or wrong answer, of course, just hopefully the answer that best describes you. It’s worth thinking about if only to help shape future decisions. Essentially it’s about your life defining who you are rather than the other way around.

So do you have a ready response or does the question stymie you? Do you respond with candor or do you recoil and consider it an intrusion?

My mind reels a little when I think about my own response to that question. “A yogi” doesn’t begin to encompass all of my idiosyncrasies, my obsessive need for efficiency, or my hatred for all things cheerful. I’m not my job. I’m more than Warren’s wife. I’m more than a sister or a daughter. I’m more than my creepy collection of nesting dolls (okay, that one is a gray area).  I’m even more than my bio on Twitter. So who the hell am I?

What I ultimately came up with is I am a flawed yogi on a journey – learning and loving as best as I can.

I feel the need to say something about my Russian nesting dolls but this isn’t a post about how to lose friends and alienate people. (That’s for another time.) I am also resisting the urge to tack on all the things that make me… well, ME – the fun, quirky things. In fact, the little voice inside my head right now is screaming, “For pete’s sake, please think I’m interesting! I’ll do anything!”

But I’m choosing to stand by that answer instead. Knowing that it is only the beginning and that my response will change over time.

I would love to know who you are right now… So I’m asking you, my dear friends, to think about and answer the question WHO ARE YOU?

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From → Mind

10 Comments
  1. APoshGirl permalink

    Nice post!

    • Thank you! It helps when Lauree O. is whispering in your brain as you’re writing it. 🙂

  2. Great post. But i do have to say that describing myself as a daughter, sister, friend etc, does point to parts of who I am. Not necessarily that those roles define my essense, but they point to them.

    So, if i were to answer your question my dear yogitastic, i’d have to say that right now, I am a journal of my journey! With a dash of sugar of spice 🙂

    • Most certainly our roles point to who we are… We just run into the danger of others limiting their view of us. Fortunately, I don’t always care what others think. 😉 I did resent it when I was introduced as Warren’s wife by a guy who I was friends with LONG before he had met Warren. I gave him an earful.

      You dance! I would expect no less than sugar and spice from you! Thanks for reading AND commenting!

  3. Great post 🙂

  4. Anna Skinner permalink

    Damn, Sam! This is a tough one. At the moment, I am my own worst enemy, the only thing standing between who I am today and who I really truly want to be. I have surrounded myself with a lot of people that either love me for who I am or that don’t know the real me (with a few exceptions), making it all too easy to stay the same, to make the same mistakes over and over again, and to stop growing and challenging myself. However, I am not happy with who I am currently. I want to grow and change and stop making the same mistakes. I don’t want to be mediocre at the things I do. I want to be a better friend, wife, daughter, sister, student, employee, yogi, athlete, etc.
    As you said, it’s a journey…and I have a long way to go.

    • Oh, Anna! But you’re so wonderful?!!? 🙂

      I understand what you mean though. We are all our own worst enemies. But when I’m feeling particularly hard on myself I do something that I enjoy – like absolutely nothing. I sit. I take a deep breath and I tell myself that it’s only going to get better from here.

      Just don’t forget that you already are pretty exceptional. I mean your spouse (like mine) would probably like to have your musical choices improve but that’s not necessarily a major flaw. 😉

  5. You ARE Warren’s wife. You ARE a yogi. You ARE X for X job. You ARE passionate about XYX….

    I fill out “bios” every day, and each time I copy my (current) Twitter bio — the shortest possible way to sum up what my life means to me (right now): where I work, what I founded, things I love, terms I think describe me. Why beg the question of Who AM I?

    We are what we repeatedly do.

    Therefore that is who I am, right now. If I want to be someone different I change my job, or my friends, or my preference in dating or not dating, or the influence I allow my family to have on me…or WHATEVER! We ARE who we choose to be, who we choose to surround ourselves with, what we choose to accomplish.

    Point is…we create this unknown by not recognizing the influence we allow others to have on our lives. Identify them/that/those…and who you are will fall into place immediately.

    • Some of us are not so hyper-aware, Lisa! 😉

      It is a question that needs to be asked not just once but regularly because what you clearly pointed out is that that is who you are right now. But more importantly, we are what we do, who we allow to influence us and who we surround ourselves with… So you better be doing what you love with friends and peers that you respect.

      I’m more worried about people who assume they know the answer to the question without actually thinking it through. Or maybe even those who have never bothered to ask! Know anyone like that?

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