If I ask you who you are, what will you tell me? Can you tell me who you are?
There are many ways to answer this question. For example, I can say that I am Paula, a book lover, an introvert, an INTJ, a rational person, an animal lover, a vegan…and I can easily write up a list of 50 things that make me…me.
But if I take that list, do you think I can find other people that match those same 50 things? I bet I can! So then…who am I? And who are YOU?
Thinking about identity is strange because I *feel* like myself all the time, so I don’t think I need to define myself. Also there are many things that define me now – but even if I change them, I will still be myself.
Let’s say that I change my name, my hair color, I stop reading and I keep myself from thinking about meaningful topics. Am I still…me? And how many things can I change and still be me?
Maybe all that we are is a collection of things that shape us: our genes, our personality, the hormones in our brains, the circumstances we are in, the things we think about, the way we act every day and…everything else.
But our identities are not fixed, so we shouldn’t hold on to them too tightly. Otherwise we’re consistent, but also stuck in the same place and cannot evolve.
Maybe it’s best never to define ourselves and others. We can put labels on people to make it easier (we do this unconsciously anyway), but we also need to remember that we constantly need to check if our labels are still accurate.
Maybe we have no way of really understanding who we are. We just create a concept of a person in our heads and relate to that avatar as if it were real because we really don’t know who we are or who other people are…