October 17

Today's quotation:

An accurate definition of the self is impossible.  You are
more than you realize, more than you can define.  And
the more time you spend trying to nail down the definition,
the less time you spend living right now. . . Your past is
not your identity. . . You, living now, is your identity.

George Lawrence-Ell

Today's Meditation:

It's kind of funny how much time we spend trying to figure ourselves out.  Perhaps it's a result of existential angst--maybe we feel that if we can define ourselves, our mortality will be explained to us and we'll have answers to important questions before we actually die.  But many of the greatest thinkers of the world have realized that we go about creating who we are each day of our lives, through our thoughts, actions, and deeds.  We don't need to stop and take a snapshot of exactly who we are, for such a snapshot will be incomplete and unfulfilling.

We have to choose where we spend our energy, and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to spend it trying to come up with something that necessarily will be inaccurate.  My identity is not something that can be written down or captured, and it's much more fun for me to be living my life fully and getting the most out of life instead of sitting in some "library" somewhere trying to figure out who I am.

I can see important images of who I am--reflections, if your will--in the things I do, the people I like and dislike, the things I own, the actions I take, the things I say.  And that should be enough.  These things won't provide me with a complete definition of my identity, but they most certainly can help me to see important parts of myself.  I don't need to waste time and energy on a futile task, especially when I consider that six months from now, any definition I come up with will be irrelevant and out of date.

Questions to consider:

Why do we sometimes get the urge to "define" ourselves?

What makes up your true identity?

How might we go about learning more about ourselves without trying to define ourselves completely?

For further thought:

How can you develop a self-concept linked to your untapped potential?  First, you can decide on the kind of life you would like to lead in ten or fifteen years.  This will give you a standard for making decisions about current activities and will reduce the inclination to compare yourself unfavorably to others.  Learn to ask, "How would I handle this situation were I the person I hope to become?"  And then take action in line with your vision.

Ari Kiev


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