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who are you?

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 4,379 snorlax

    i found this short article (only a page long), and i thought it was interesting.

    so who are you? or who do you believe you are or what do you believe you are? are you just your own emotions/ feelings?

    by Bob Gottfried, PhD
    When I ask people the question "Who are you?" I'm usually greeted with silence. People are not sure; in fact, some have never even stopped to think about it. Can you imagine living all your life without knowing who you really are?
    Once people recover from the initial surprise of the question they respond with all kinds of definitions, most of which are based on their character or abilities. "I am Anna, I am a teacher, I am a mother, I am good-natured, I am artistic, I am a driven individual, I like helping others," and so on.
    Would you agree that who you are is a collection of your experiences, memories, thoughts, feelings and beliefs? Most people tend to agree with that.
    Let's examine this deeper. Are we our experiences and memories or are these only events that we have encountered no more? Are we our thoughts?
    If you answered yes, then let me ask you this: Can we change a thought? Of course we can.
    So who then is changing the thought? Is there someone "bigger" than the thoughts who can change them if he or she wishes to? The thought cannot change itself, the same way a book cannot turn its own pages, or a car start its own engine. So who inside can do it? You may say: "I do. I can change my thought." So in that case you are not your thoughts, are you?
    Are you your feelings? As with thoughts, you can say that you have feelings but not that you are them. And what about beliefs? Are you your belief system? Many assume that they are, but we need to use the same rationale: we can change or update a belief or an attitude. It may be hard to do, but it can be done. You may have beliefs and attitudes but you are not them, wouldn't you agree?
    In that case who is this person who is having thoughts, memories, feelings and beliefs? You may say it's the PERSONALITY. Many psychologists would agree with that, but who was there before you developed a personality? Who is the entity who has the personality?
    You may answer again, "I do." In that case, who are you? We are back to square one, but at least we know, at this point, who we are not. We are not, at least not totally, our thoughts, feelings, or personalities.
    The word "person" comes from the Latin word "persona," which means a mask. Indeed, people wear all kinds of masks that enable them to play all kinds of dramas. But even if you wear a thousand different masks, there is a face behind the mask. I call it CoreSelf.
    We present many selves including the self that we would like others to think we are, the self we actually think we are, the self we are afraid we are, and then, of course, the core essence that we really are. When you take off the masks, you find the true face of who you are.
    In his famous statement, Descartes declared, "I think, therefore, I am." From a spiritual perspective, the more appropriate statement would be, I think, therefore I THINK I am. Who we think we are is nothing but a bunch of thoughts! Who we really are is beyond thought.
    Try this awareness exercise for a moment: Take a few deep breaths in, suspend all thoughts, perceptions and feelings? Who remains after you pushed away everything?
    *This is an adapted excerpt from the book: "Shortcut to Spirituality: Mastering the Art of Inner Peace" (DeeperDimension publishing, 2004.)


  • Wow that's interesting... very *deep*... never thought about it much myself either!

  • it is alittle deep but then i kind of am myself ;)! it's kind of an unusual article, and an unusual way of looking at things, and i'd be curious to know what other people doing psychology (and those who have never studied it) view themselves.

    so who are you NodayBut2day?!:D

  • It is a question I have spent much time trying to answer, honestly I do not know, I still surprise myself from time to time. I've hidden my 'core self' so deep behind layers of different persona's that I’m not sure, every now n then something random pops out, perhaps the "real me"?

    Sometimes I fear who I might be, there are many facets to my personality, but I do endeavour to embrace them all in the hope of better understanding of myself and then of others.

  • Well how can you define yourself if not by you actions and toughts. There is no president for that question. Even the person who wrote the question did not tell us who he was.

    So if "Who we are" is not something that can be written down or said then what is it? A feeling, a sensation. Who we are can be defined on many different levels, socially, personally, physically etc. Like the many mask we wear, so how can you define whats under the mask when we've been wearing them for so long?

  • I know who I am. I'm bob. Neil is just the sexy mask I wear. ;)
    Who we are can be defined on many different levels, socially, personally, physically etc. Like the many mask we wear, so how can you define whats under the mask when we've been wearing them for so long?

    Surely who we are is a product of the amalgamation of all of those "levels", to use your term. And its very possible (I believe) to identify who you are beneath the masks. Im confident that I know who I am (at a "coreself" level) but it took me traveling to another continent and moving from place to place for the better part of three years to figure it out. I'm glad I did it because the journey was as beneficial as the answers it shed.

    Mainly though I've always believed that to be truely happy in life you need to know who you are, who you want to be and what you want from life.

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  • Ok so give us all a president! Who are you?

  • I am the person that exists when I lie in bed just before I go to sleep. The rest is just a collection of masks.

  • the_syco i can view all posts wether deleted or not!

  • It's a toughie really.

    It could be said that the decisions we make define who we are but then what about the reasoning and thinking behind these decisions? And then what about our life experiences and the things we've learned from our parents from an early age,even (sometimes) our genetic make-up that are behind the way we think?

    There is an infinite chain present.

  • So who then is changing the thought?

    what you see and what you experinces change your thoughts.
    i think what makes us, us is all of the things combind together. our thoughts,memories, feelings, ect.

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  • the whole nature vs nuture debate establishes who we are?

    we are the sum of our genes and the environmental context in which we are brought up in? Thomas and Chess argued that temprament was inherent and was in our genes, where as Bowlby's attachment theory would point to the importance of sensitive care giving to the development of healthy child, " sensitive mothering is as importance as our vitamins and proteins for the healthy physical and social functioning of the child". Bowlby's theory is a little dated nowadays, as is Ainsworth's idea of a secure/ insecure child. they are good examples of how we develop socially during childhood.

  • I am my own conscience in the shape of a human being.

  • Matt Ridley's 'Nature Via Nurture' is a good summary of the current state of thinking on the interaction between genome and environment and a good corrective to those (are there any left?) who think in terms of either/or when it comes to nature and nurture.