The million dollar question

What is it that makes us who we are? I was inspired by a blog post by suzjones and began to think… is the primal part of myself more me than the part of me that wants to suppress it? Am I my desires and impulses or is the ‘real me’ who I am when I try to regulate them? Or is the real me who I try to be; who I want to be? I’ve read about the ‘authentic self’ being the self whose behaviour stems from within- from what you were created to be, and I think that includes whatever improvement you think you need to be happy with yourself.

I’ve departed from my younger, loud, bossy, and sometimes over-confident self. I behaved naturally, the way most children do, against social etiquette, choosing to be blunt and honest over being polite. I tended to sing too loudly (in an attempt to drown out my cousin’s voices), and I’d take the first chance to grab a mic if there was one (this happened at someone else’s birthday party too). How annoying. I don’t think I was born to perpetuate my child-like behaviour, acting as if I was the only person that mattered on the planet. The truth is, I live in a world full of people that I need to consider, so I have to find a way to accommodate others. This means changing the egocentric-ism that comes so naturally to me, and being able to move forward from this means maturity. It does not detract from my being ‘real’- it just means I’m learning and striving towards who I want to be. It is only when change occurs in a direction I don’t want to travel in that we have a problem.

Yes, we take on a series of roles daily and we adapt to different situations and personality types. We need to keep some of our dimensions to ourselves- that is, the part of ourselves that wants to talk back to a professor or a boss, for example. There is a professional self, and then the self that you share with your close friends. And then there’s you when you’re alone. Every situation calls for behavioural adjustment, and I don’t think that these dimensions make a person any less ‘authentic’, for every side of you and every role you assume fits together to create this whole person.

From a religious perspective, finding my authentic self is about denouncing my ‘old’ self. As a Christian, I aim to be more and more Christ-like. I am to put to death the sinner within me and be renewed, choosing to live the way I was called to live, no matter how difficult that is in a world where God is replaced and displaced by everything else.  There is an element of consistency in being me as I want to act according to the values and principles that are important to me.  So as long as I am looking to be the best me that I can be (and that is an on-going process of change), I am the real me.

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