Who Are You? I Am...

It’s not uncommon for people to define themselves by titles and labels.

For example: I’m an architect. I’m a mother. I’m a runner.

I recognize that defining ourselves this way serves a purpose — it makes it easier for others to identify us and in turn, enables us to fit into different communities. On the other hand, I also believe that these identity markers can be very limiting. What happens when the architect retires? What happens to the mother who loses her child?

From a spiritual perspective, I think this begs the larger question (and a very important question for those on the spiritual path): Who am I? (If you’ve found an answer to this question, let me know!)

Who am I?

I’ve been approaching this question from many angles. From a mindfulness perspective, I can say that I am the one who witnesses my thoughts, emotions, and feelings. I am not my thoughts. I am not my emotions. I am not my feelings. From a simpler perspective, I can assert that I am. I simply am. I am — this, in and of itself, is a complete statement. Unfortunately, we don’t operate in a society where most people accept I am as a complete sentence.

What can we do if we want to avoid the labels but can’t seem to wrap our heads around the concept of “I am?” Something I’ve found helpful is to use adjectives that you want to embody in your life. For example: I am courageous.

Courage is a quality that you can embody in different areas of your life. You can be courageous when you ask for a raise at work. You can be courageous by booking that solo trip. You can be courageous by asking that person out. Quality traits aren’t limited to just one area of your life. Let’s say you lose your job. You won’t lose your sense of identity because you can see how you still embody courage in other areas of your life.

Who are you?

I'm a human being who needs to sleep, drink, eat, and use the restroom. Probably the only thing that will never change until the day i die.