The important question, “Who am I?” can be answered many ways. When my mother was in her 90s she still referred to my brother and me as her kids. So I am a kid, a husband, a father, a grandfather, an uncle, a boss, a writer, a speaker, a basketball player, a sinner (though redeemed), a senior, a teacher, and much more.
Your list of “I ams” could be longer or shorter depending on how long and how audacious a life you have lived. But your list of “I ams” does not tell the whole story of you.
Some of your “I ams” are lies told to you by unkind people. A teacher might have said, “You are not very smart.” A relative might have told you, “You’re not as talented as your sister.” A friend might have muttered, “You are clumsy.” So you adopted the “you are” messages of others (false though they may be) as “I am” messages for yourself.
Many other of your “I ams” come from your own trial and error as you explore various ways of presenting yourself to others. “I ams” also come from people who care deeply for you, who can see in you great potential, and work to help you become all you can be. Those are my favorite kind of people.
Here’s a truth I can assure you is, well, true: You were created with certain gifts and talents and with a purpose for using them while you’re here. That’s the real you. So why wish you were like someone else, or why try to be something different than the real you just to make someone else happy?
Don’t know who the real you is? I believe there are three people who can help you discover and become the real you:
The first person who can help you find the real you is your creator. Yes, I believe that you are the special creation of Almighty God and that He has a wonderful plan for your life that will make your life meaningful and cause you to be a blessing to others. So find out what Almighty God has to say about you. You may be surprised at how much he believes in you and how much he wants you to succeed in life. And though you may not know God, I assure you of this, He knows you.
The second person who can help you find the real you is a true friend, and I’m sorry to say, there are not many of them out there. A true friend is one who has your best interests at heart, who will not lie to you nor hurt you, but encourage and bless you as you go about your self-discovery.
The third person who can help you find the real you is you. Only you know how you feel, think, process, and assess events, information and people. Only you know what you like and don’t like. Only you can determine what you focus on and what you ignore. That’s why I like to say, “Stop whining: 80% of your life is up to you!”
Here’s this week’s kick in the pants: Take a step back and consider who you are living to please. Ask, what am I passionate about? What gives me joy; makes my face light up; makes my heart beat faster? Where do I fit best? Explore your inner self to see who you really are.
Take the advice of the writer Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
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