Who are You?
Many people dread this question, especially those who have opted to conform. Some choose to live in the shadows while others choose to do what they think is right so as to be most accepted by their peers.
But who are you? Seriously, this is one of life’s most important questions. What usually bubble up as answers are the labels that society and the culture have piled on us, like: wife, mother, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, son, daughter, etc.
But these are just labels very similar to the titles we use when people ask about us and we start to describe what we do. I am an engineer, a manager, an accountant, a doctor, a teacher, a nurse, etc. But is that really who we are?
The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. ~Mark Twain
As humans, rarely do we ask ‘WHO AM I?’ Rather we are always asking ‘who are you’? We are more interested in knowing about other people than knowing ourselves. More often than not, this is because we are afraid to face our own truth. We are afraid of how friends, family, society will react if the answer is different from what they’ve told us about ourselves.
But wait. Aren’t you tired of living in the shadows? Do you have the courage to ask the person in the mirror: Who are you? Real freedom lies in knowing yourself! Who are you? Usually when faced with this question hundreds of thoughts run through the mind:
Should I say my name?
Should I refer to what I do for a living?
Or the family I come from?
But the real answer to these questions can only be unearthed through self-discovery. Self-discovery is the hunt to find the treasure buried deep inside you. It is the process of getting to know who you really are and not who you’ve been told you are and certainly not what your certificate says you are.
What’s Your Unique Soul Print?
For you to truly answer this question, you need to look deep within yourself to discover things about you that make you unique, different and special. Failure to embark on the pilgrimage of self-discovery will cheat you of an opportunity to know what you really want out of life, as well as how you can add value to others during your time here on earth.
Self-discovery is for individuals willing to question themselves, their beliefs and inner structures and, most importantly, to find the answers for themselves.
Self-discovery allows you to burst through self-imposed restrictions, tackle issues you were once afraid to admit even to yourself and discover the person you truly are. Self-discovery allows you to break free from social conditioning that can so easily create self-loathing and self-rejection. Only by seeing yourself as that small core of life right at your very centre can you discover your unique soul-print.
For some people, self-discovery can happen entirely by accident, usually through some tragic event or extraordinary challenge. For others, it requires a conscious solo journey deep into themselves.
You came into this world naked, but you did not come empty. You were carrying something great within you: it was your inbuilt purpose. Finding your purpose can be a painful process or it can be almost like a spiritual revelation. What is important to understand is that it stands as a central duty to all of us. It is more than a duty; it is our uniquely human privilege that should never be neglected.
People who neglect to find their purpose and discover who they truly are end up searching for themselves in the wrong places.
Some scratch about in extra-marital affairs, some search for themselves in the bottle, some search in drugs, some search in acquiring multiple certificates and academic qualifications. Some search on gambling tables, some search in nightclubs and all sorts of places.
But this form of searching only increases their emptiness and widens the hole in their hearts. Rest assured that life has more meaning for any man or woman who has found the deep purpose in their lives and is walking towards fulfilling it.
You can use the following questions as a guide to discover what sets you apart as you take the journey into yourself:
· Does the life you are currently living feels like it belongs to someone else?
· What makes you tick?
· What makes you come alive?
· What wakes you up?
· What do others say about you?
· What do you want in life?
· What compliments do you shrug off?
· What are your non-negotiable core values in life?
· What are you willing to fight for?
· Do you like to connect with people?
· What are you a natural at?
· What life did you dream of as a child?
· What are you most afraid of?
Answering these questions honestly requires digging deep into your shadows or childhood experiences and revealing deep-seated beliefs that have shaped you — for good or bad — until the present.
Everyone has to discover their purpose in life for themselves. So, get a diary and write answers to the above questions. Doing so will help you discover your unique soul-print.
It takes more courage to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery than to choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that could last for the rest of our lives. ~Marianne Williamson
It is only through self-discovery that you can identify your purpose and actualise your potential. Purpose is not a mystery. Most people are very much aware of their purpose.
It haunts them every day. Hence I urge you to pay attention to that nagging feeling. Purpose is always nearby. It’s been hanging around the fringe for years waiting for you to gather the courage and strength and energy to tackle it with two hands and with your whole heart.
Personally, I didn’t always know I wanted to be a writer who connects with people in a meaningful way. I stumbled into my purpose when my world fell apart(I got laid off from a job I held onto for dear life).
It was one of the most devastating periods in my life. Writing became a way to escape my suffering, but I soon discovered it offered freedom to others and tremendous fulfilment to my soul. I’ve never looked back ever since.
A sense of purpose makes you more resilient, improves health, increases life satisfaction and, according to one medical study, even helps people with chronic conditions feel less distressed.
Pew Research found that: ‘People who said they had a sense of purpose lived longer than those who didn’t — regardless of what age they found their purpose.’
Do you still need any more convincing to lead a purposeful life?
An Extract from my Book: Disrupt Yourself Or Be Disrupted