Think about yourself. Think about what you look like. Think about the sound of your voice. Think about the way you walk. Think about inside. Think about your knowledge. Think about your preferences. Your hopes, your likes and dislikes. Think about each aspect that makes you who you are, good and bad. And throw them away. This is not who you are. Who you are is an idea. An idea of who and what people think you are. An idea, a thought or suggestion, an opinion or belief. The way others perceive you is who you are.
Think about a friend, a loved one, who are they? In the same way you think about yourself you can think about them. You can take the way they look, think and move, their likes and dislikes and build an idea of who you think they are. This is how you perceive them, and in your world, this is who they are. And this is the same way you become who you are in the eyes of others.
Sure you can share your inner most thoughts and hopes with a loved one to identify yourself. Yet still the words you use to portray this identity will be perceived by the other. And their perception will always be an extension of their identity and how they identify you in their world. Comparably the way you perceive yourself is also an extension and influence of those in your world, whether it be a loved one, a scholar or luminary. Whoever and whatever has entered your world and influenced you in any way, whether aware of it or not, has helped you build the idea of who you are.
Why does it matter who we are? Because it is all we know. On a daily basis we are stuck within our own minds. Our bodies, actions and words portray that inner mind. Even if we say to ourselves and others that it doesn’t matter who we are, this is a disbelief because even by proclaiming this, that is who we are. We are the person who doesn’t think it matters who we are. And of course, I can hear them coming, there will be people swinging religion up high saying that their god, his god, her god and your god think it matters who you are. Religion and gods have always been something to answer to. When you’ve reached the point of not being able to answer a profound question or reality, what do you turn to? Gods. Gods and society. Because it’s easy, its easy to lay responsibility on yet another idea, suggestion or belief. But I would like to put religion and gods to the side. For now. Let us simply think about ourselves.
Take the thing that you think is most important about yourself in defining who you are. Was your first thought about something someone had once said about you? Perhaps something you had identified in someone else and decided to incorporate into yourself? Is it an ideal that was set for you from birth, an ideal that has driven every moment and choice in the leading of the character you have become? Are you kind despite your selfishness? Are you a good listener despite your inability to hear? Are you family orientated despite your individuality? Are you driven despite your circumstance? What is important about you? Why does who you are matter?
Lets think about what has influenced you and driven you to be who you are. Could it be society? The idea of who your parents would like you to be? Who religion has told you you should be? From birth all these constructs have been in place, and you have in fact had little choice in who you are. Of course you are thinking to yourself that you have chosen who you are by your thoughts, actions and decisions. But what you must realize is that every thought, action and decision is influenced. From the first book you read, the first film you watched, the first time your parents said they were proud of you. The undenying human need to please and be accepted has driven all of who you are. Why is there this undenying need? The meaning of life. The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death. The meaning of life for many can be achieving certain goals, standards, possessions, really anything. But at the essence of the meaning of life, people are striving towards ultimate happiness. This is where the undenying need of pleasing and acceptance comes in. in order to be happy and be loved, one feels the need for acceptance. Social acceptance, financial acceptance, educational acceptance. And how do we achieve this acceptance? By building our identity to be an acceptable perception by others. Even perhaps an acceptable perception of our own. We all hold ourselves to a certain standard of being, some higher than others. And if we don’t achieve this perception, its failure. But why do we want our work to stand out, our humanity to be recognized, for our looks to be noticed? Acceptance, happiness, love.
Basic needs, everyone has them. What are they, and what do they have to do with who we are? lets refer to Maslows Hierarchy of Needs. According to Maslows first model, humans have 5 basic needs. These being biological and physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs, and self actualization needs. It was later expanded on to include cognitive needs, aesthetic needs and transcendence needs. A very interesting evaluation of human behavior was observed developing this model. At the top of this hierarchy is self actualization needs. What is self actualization? Maslow stated that human motivation is based on people seeking fulfillment and change through personal growth. Self actualized people are those who were fulfilled and doing all they were capable of. In self actualization a person comes to find a meaning to life that is important to them.
So taking the hierarchy into account, basic needs as well as where we lie in the hierachy may help us determine who we are. We cant reach self actualization, which is happiness, without already achieving love and esteem. according to Maslow.
Why does it matter who you are? It doesn’t. It doesnt matter what “type” of personality you have, it doesnt matter what you look like, it doesnt matter what you do or say. People, and you, are totally dispensable. If you aren’t here, someone else can fill your space. Why? Because who we are is built by what is around us, and what is around us is built by people who have ideas about who we should be, who in turn have an idea about who they are. You are not individual, you are not special. There is someone else who has the same perceived idea of who they are as who you are.
Needs can make us who we are, traits, actions and words can make us who we are. Every thought, movement and decision makes us who we are. But always and only the idea of who we are, whether it be our idea, someone elses idea or societies idea. Only an idea.
With this all said, it’s human nature to continue. We thrive off the chemical reactions within us, the feelings we have. We continue in order to find that feeling of peace and fulfillment. At the end of the day i feel there really is no point in us, the human race, in everything. It’s just a bunch of days strung together in a construct that we are all trying to fit into for no reason at all. Who are you? Who cares.