It’s time to start reflecting on who you are, who you want to become and how that corresponds with what you value. The answers might not be as obvious as you think.
How Who You Are Is Reflected Through Your Values
“Of course I know who I am,” a lot of people will respond when asked if they know who they are. Then they’ll rattle off a list that includes their name, where they’re from, their occupation, their ethnicity; the list can go on and on. Yet, we are more than our title, heritage or role, right? So, maybe most of us aren’t answer that question right. Maybe you need to reflect more on who you are.
Most of us already have a pretty good idea about the sum experience of our lives:
- What we’ve been taught
- How we’ve come along so far
- How we generally tend to operate
Maybe a better question than “Who are you” is, “Who do you want to be?”
You are always being who you are—whatever that is at the moment—but at the same time you’re also always becoming. It’s easy to say, “I am (fill in the blank),” and we can think this with complete conviction. However, just because someone says they are—for example—a good friend doesn’t necessarily make it so. But who wouldn’t want to become a better friend?
Current pressures and challenges can affect even those with greater awareness of themselves. Sometimes, how we respond to these challenges can surprise us, like showing great compassion and humanity to others in the face of unspeakable tragedy (think the outpouring of support for the Haiti tragedy), even though those same people might not otherwise appear on our radar at all.
Other times, we might be disappointed because we think of ourselves as open-minded, only to find out that we aren’t what we think we are all the time. Considering life’s uncertainties, there really is no way to be absolutely sure of how we will respond to what life gives us.
When it comes down to it, who you are really is:
- What you value the most
- How your value reflects in what you do
- Where your energy and resources are directed on a regular basis
I’m not talking about the value of material things like cars, houses, or the latest gadgets. I mean what you value as in honesty, self-respect, respect for others, kindness—qualities that have no price because their impact can’t be measured.
— T. Harv Eker (@T_Harv_Eker) January 11, 2017
So instead of thinking in terms of who you are, perhaps a more practical way of looking at the question is who do you want to become. We probably aren’t going to be exactly who we want to be in every moment of life. Anybody who’s experienced fear or anger can attest to that. Nobody wants to be fearful, but we’d all like to be courageous.
Who you want to be is really what makes you who you are now. When you’re striving for something, you’re acting—you’re doing. And what you do makes you more of who you will become later down the line. There is no distinction between the present and the future. It’s always happening now through your values and your actions, from building your sense of character to building a strong financial foundation.
Exercise: Who You Are and Who You Want To Become
Put yourself in the hot seat and ask the tough questions:
- What qualities do you really want to enact no matter what the situation, no matter what goal you’re trying to reach? Compassion? Bravery? Simplicity? Faith? Good humor?
Whatever these qualities you admire or cherish the most, these are the principles that make you who you are, if you hold to them consistently. Share the qualities you want to enact most in the comments.
In Being and Purpose Part 2, we’ll look at taking the next step in being by exploring the notion of purpose.
This article has been updated for relevancy and accuracy. It’s original publish date was 01/21/10.