Who You Are And Who You Think You Are

There is a difference between who you are and your IDEA of who you are. Furthermore, there is a GIGANTIC difference between the person you are USUALLY and who you can be in life’s many, many varied circumstances. There is so much potential, so many different possibilities and potentials that exist inside of you, that seeing yourself only through the lens of “what you do” is a cheap and demeaning picture, and provides a very narrow view.

There is a very critical TRAP that many people fall into in life that can lead them astray. In life, you may enjoy friendships and pleasant relationships with people, but those friendships can turn sour when your “friends” seem to get angry at you or spiteful towards you or just disrespectful of you because of how you are being, or “who you are”.

At this point, this is where the critical mistake can be made: given the fact that “who you are” isn’t getting you the results you like or are accustomed to (this can be with relationships, or in ANY area of life), you can try to “change” who you are. This action can estrange yourself from who you are, because you’re distancing yourself from your natural energy – who you normally are, and what manner of being you live in.

What do I mean by this? Let’s say people complained to you about how happy you were, and how you didn’t take things seriously enough. Then, you might start second guessing yourself, thinking “is something wrong with me?” – Then, you might try to be more serious, more level-headed. But in this way, you can hog-tie your happiness, and, metaphorically-speaking, throw it in the corner of your life, instead of living in it and letting your energy of happiness express itself through you.

Of course, this can be with any energy. You could be “too serious”, “too sad”, “too angry”, “too naive”, “too energetic”, “too unrealistic”… the list goes on and on. The problem is not in that other people tell you you’re a certain way, but that you believe that what they see as a problem, actually IS. Given all the kinds of energy inside you, one method of self-exploration is to reflect upon all your different types of energy you feel, and watch the different dynamics of energy inside you. What does watching give you? Understanding.

These energies, when you isolate them however you wish and let them take form in your imagination, usually take the form of archetypes, like the kinds you see in stories of any kind – from ancient mythology to today’s anime. Seeing this, you’ll begin to realize just what ancient mythologies are, descriptions of dynamics of energy that can occur within the self. What does this mean? You have heroes inside of you, you have gods, you even have monsters.

Not that you have to see your energy like this, or judge it in any particular way – nothing is necessarily good or evil exclusively, there is often more than meets the eye to any energy you look at. And because it’s your energy, you get to choose how you respond to it, because you are a part of your internal world, or rather, it seems to me, the sum total of all energies within you.

You may be concerned with what you might find in your internal world. Here I can totally sympathize – there were things inside me that scared me at first, but usually it was because I didn’t understand them, or thought they’d have power over me. But where there is “bad” or sick, or twisted up things inside of you, there is also good – there is good in you, even if it is in your ability to see the bad for what it is and what it does to you. I can say that in the end the truth is your best ally against these figures, and that includes being able to see the truth of what’s there within you, even if it takes a while and you have to ease yourself into it.

Article adapted from the comments of Oliver Kaufman, founder of The World Within. Edited and posted by Matt, founder of a cool website.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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