Who am I? Looking at what we got from others

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So much of what we believe about who we are is wrapped up in things we’ve heard others say about us: family, teachers, classmates, interviewers, colleagues, friends. But as you can imagine, these people only know a part of us. Only we can get to know our complete selves, and it’s our responsibility to do so. No one else can do it for us.

1. Get out your notebook or journal, and ask yourself the following questions. Get as detailed as you can in your answers:

  • How would my family members describe me? What does my family have to say about who I am? What I do?
  • How would classmates have described me in grade school? How would they have described me in high school? University? Grad school?
  • How did my teachers describe me when I was a child in school? What did teachers have to say about me later on in my life? High school? University? Grad school? What kinds of evaluations did I get in school (written evaluations that focused on behaviour and attitude, not just grades)?
  • What kinds of feedback have I received from job interviews, either with recruiting agents or with companies? What have they said about my ability to find the ideal job for me?
  • What feedback have I received from superiors at work? What have people at work had to say about me? What kinds of reviews have I received?
  • How would my friends describe me? What do friends have to say about who I am and the decisions I make in my life?
2. If you like, you can actually ask friends, family, colleagues, or others to respond to these questions by either making a list of words they would use to describe you or by writing a short paragraph detailing how they see you.
3. Next, review the full list of answers. How many of these things have you adopted as your truth? Meaning: how many of these things that others said about you did you accept as reality just because they came from someone else?
4. Now that you’ve completed two weeks of Who am I? activities, you’re several steps further to being clear about who you are. So, how much of what others have said or would say about you coincide with who you truly are, deep down? Our friends and family are wonderful, and hopefully on your side. But often others have their own agenda, and they might not be objective when it comes to describing who you are. And, as I mentioned earlier, others can only get to know one part of us. We are the only ones who can truly get to know ourselves on a truly profound level.
So now you’ve completed the Who am I? series, which is the first part of the Three Happiness Questions.  How are you feeling? Did you complete all the exercises? Are there any you want to go back and flesh out a bit more? What have you learned about yourself and who you are?

Getting to know yourself is a life long process, partly because we need to dig deep to get beyond all those things that we’ve taken on from others, and partly because we’re constantly changing throughout life. I hope you’ve enjoyed this process.

Ready to move on? The next questions will be from the Where am I? series.

About Holly Worton

Holly Worton helps authors make sense of social media so they can build their online platform and sell more books with her business Tribal Publishing. She also helps people achieve authentic happiness by answering The Three Happiness Questions with her blog Ready to Bloom.

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  1. Where am I? Expectations « Ready to Bloom - October 8, 2012

    [...] have taken on from other people in your life: family, friends, partners. I’ve talked about what we get from others, and I’ve talked about all those things other people want  you to do. Part of looking at [...]

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