Personal Identity

Who am I? Who Are You?

When someone asks you to describe yourself in a few words, or says “so tell me about yourself” what do you say? What comes to mind first? Do you talk about the hobbies or do you talk about your dreams and beliefs?

Challenge 1: Write down the first things that came to mind then save it for later!

I was recently asked “so what’s your story?” this was in regards to my family but eventually came around to me as a person. It was a great conversation, we talked about our interests, my childhood, college life and much more which made me think. I do a great job of thinking a lot about everything all the time too.

I was reliving some of my college days and while I kept some of those memories to myself I couldn’t help but laugh. 22 year old, college me is almost a completely different person than 27 year old me today. When it comes to my behaviors and habits at least, and certain outlooks on life. Yes, I have grown up quite a bit these last 5 years, but man, what a change. My deeply rooted values are the same, but habits have ABSOLUTELY changed.

If I were to write down a full description of myself at those two ages you would probably think they really were two different people. This got me thinking about our personal identity and who we really are. When do we actually decide who we are and what defines us as individuals? Does everyone go through different phases in life? How can our behaviors go from one extreme to another?

My early 20s were fun, a lot of fun, but I wouldn’t want that stage of my life to be what I was known for. I have some friends now that even say things to me about how much I have “changed” since college. I would hope I’ve changed some since then.

I sat the other night and really thought about who I was as a person. They say sometimes certain aspects in life don’t fall in place until you really know who you are. You can’t make some big life decisions if you don’t know who you are. The older I get I do think that has much truth to it. So who am I? Still working on that part, but I am starting to have a better understanding now more than ever. Life experiences definitely help with that.

As a society we can sometimes get so caught up in labels that we fail to realize who we really are. If my identity were based off of my early twenties I bet most people would say “party girl.” If I were to be defined now it would be something like “quiet, homebody, grandma/type with a sprinkle of fun.” Sounds like two different people right?

Challenge 2: Think about everything you’ve read to this point and write down who you think you are. Compare to the first list and see if it looks the same.

Do your actions and behaviors reflect who you are or is it your values and your passions that make you unique? When I took the time to do this I came to the conclusion that our innermost feelings and thoughts are who we are. Our behaviors are just a quick surface level explanation that is not always accurate.

I may have been more “fun and outgoing” back in the day but my love and compassion for people has always there. My desire to succeed and make a name for myself has been there all along too. You’ll also catch me out and about for a night on the town every now and then (very rare these days, but it does happen).

I’m this super complex, caring individual working through life day by day to create the person I want to be remembered as.

So who am I? Who are you? What is your identity?

– Jalysa K.

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