Who are You?
This above all: to thine own self be true - Hamlet, William Shakespeare
There’s something I learned in grade school that I have noticed a lot of people don’t understand any longer. (Yes, that means I’m old, thank you.) It’s the fun little conundrum of who you really are. You probably think you know. But are you taking every point of view into consideration? What does point of view have to do with who you are? Let me tell you.
You might think you’re super organized. But if you ask your mom, she could point out a thousand different ways that you aren’t. Because it turns out you’re only organized in one specific portion of your life. You might also think you’re young, until you go to the doctor or make a reference to your childhood and the way things were and half the people you’re writing to have no idea what you’re talking about.
So, who are you? Well, the truth of that is, you’re a lot of different people. And a lot of different people will see you in differing ways, too. Your neighbor might think you’re quiet and introverted, because he doesn’t see the parties you go to. The best friend you had in middle school will say you were a fun-loving nerd who was always ready to delve into learning something new. Your first boss will say you’re a lousy worker with no sense of time. While your current employer says you’re worker #5467 and adequate. That guy you didn’t see when you merged lanes in traffic will say you’re an asshole and a terrible driver and your father probably hates you, otherwise he would have taught you better. The waitress at the diner says you’re a sweetheart because you always tip well.
The world is made up of a thousand different versions of you. And, to a point, they’re all right. And they’re all wrong too. Because the you that people see, even if they know you really well, is just a small portion of the whole.
You’re a lazy, productive, asshole, workaholic with a heart of gold that can’t manage their time properly because you're too busy pushing little old ladies down in the middle of traffic and you always make parties awkward by being too loud. And the exact opposite too. You’re a hard-working, ineffective, sweetheart with a soul of evil that is always punctual because you’re being helped through traffic by young, buff men but never leave the house because you’re so quiet and prim.
All of us are a bit of everything at different times. The real truth of who we are lies in what we choose, at every moment in every interaction, to show to the world. Because every interaction and action is a choice we make. Sometimes we think about those choices thoroughly and other times we reacted without thinking.
So now, ask yourself, who are you? Write it all down. Think about how other people would perceive you. Then go through that and highlight the parts of yourself that you like. And the next time you have to make a decision while interacting with other people, stop and think about those aspects of who you want to be.
Not only will you learn who you are and were, you can also decide who you will be in the future. When you make the decision to be who you want to be, more people will see you as that person. Then you will be treated like that person you want to be, and it will become easier to be that person as well. Learn who you are, by deciding who that person should be.