It’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you. — Rachel Dawes, Batman Begins
Who are you? Take a minute and answer this question. Before reading ahead, just put down whatever answer comes to mind.
The self — has been the centre of attention for centuries. Philosophers, psychologists and religious figures throughout history have debated on the nature of the self. And to good merit, if we cannot understand the true nature of who we are, how are we to make sense of our relationship to the other and the world. Understanding the self perhaps then is the prerequisite to understanding anything. I exist in your reality, only after you exist. If there were no you, there would be no me, at least not for you.
The world around you therefore, is a reflection of who you are. As you change through time, so does the world around you. You may have defined your self as the physical (tall, dark, blue eyes etc.), the social (a son, a cricketer, an academic), the personal (shy, impulsive, out-going, courageous), the principle/religious (Christian, Muslim, Buddhist), or the existential (human being, a soul etc.). Whatever your definition of the self, will form your understanding of the other and the world. Be careful how you define yourself, for it will define your reality. What we will try today is to understand the self and determine how (in)accurate we are.
You are the decisions you make. Not your instincts, not your thoughts, not your beliefs, only actions.
Umair is a good friend. He is in love with a childhood friend, Sophia. Umair views himself as being religious, and he is. Sophia is relatively more liberal. He wishes to spend his life with her, but knows it will be difficult. He tells himself he can’t go ahead and start a life with Sophia. I think that is a lie. It is not that he cannot. He decides. He prioritizes religion, and his own view of his future over his instinct of love towards Sophia. If he keeps thinking he can’t make this decision, he is disempowering himself — he is helpless. I believe he is not, he has decided to give other things more importance than his feelings of love towards Sophia. That is who Umair is. It will be easier for Umair to navigate through life, if he understands that. He will be more at ease with who he is, if he admits to who he is.
Your decisions share a telling story about your reality. What you prioritize in life. What you give importance to. What drives your decisions? List down 5 decisions you’ve made in the past 2 years. Write down what you think these decisions were driven by. Did you make decisions based on personal growth? Or community? Are you driven by fame? Or variety?