By this stage, you’ve probably found that there’s a spiritual quest hidden in your journey to finding meaning when answering “Who am I”. When you start to truly understand that your identity is a dynamic process that’s constantly in flux, you realise that who you are is very dependent on your belief and value systems.
Rather than knowing who you are on a psychological level, who am I becomes about shedding who you perceive yourself to be.
Who am I meaning in values
What you value is a very important part of who you are. As I wrote in “how to find your values”, Values can sound a bit like goals, but they’re entirely different. They are what give goals meaning and direction.
Values are the things that YOU believe are important for how you live and work. If you dig deep, they’re the ones that you can measure up your life against to see if it’s turning out the way you want it to. When the actions you take and the way you behave matches your values, your life is usually good, and you’ll feel content. But when your life choices don’t align with your values, things will feel wrong. You’ll feel unhappy, unfulfilled.
Once you’re clear on your values, you can start making life choices that match them. Values help steer you in the direction that is most important to you and make it easier to make decisions. Any decision can be measured against whether it brings you closer to your values. If you have no idea (and most of us don’t) what your values are, you can try this values prioritization exercise.
When you know what your values are, you can start thinking about the choices you make and align them with who you are:
Blue-footed Booby Success Formula: How to make conscious choices
- Go back to the previous stages of your journey where you analysed who you are, wrote down your interests, your social networks, and how you want to contribute to the world. Write down the areas where you know you can quickly and easily make significant change.
- Ask what you would do if you had no obligations or people to please. Write this down.
- Now that you know what you want, and who you want to be, start making conscious choices that match both your desires and your values!
Remember that what you know as ‘yourself’ can change. So, in your journey of self-awareness, keep checking back with yourself to ask if you’re making decisions based on your values, and if you are who you want to be.
Keep exploring and having fun with this. This is a lifetime journey, one that will help you make active choices that allow you to move forward while dissolving your ego and false sense of identity.
It will help you take responsibility for your choices and empower you to take the reins of your own life.
Who am I meaning: The spiritual quest
You’ve seen how difficult it is to answer “Who am I” psychologically, especially now that you understand how much of your identity is constantly changing.
The question “Who am I” seems simple, but it’s a deeply existential one. Most of us have a spiritual belief, or the feeling that there is more to the world than what we see. That’s why most spiritual teachers agree that you need to shed who you perceive yourself to be in order to truly know yourself.
Only by melting away the concept of self, can we discover the true self, which is not separate nor distinct from anything around us.
This is deep stuff. The kind of knowing that monks and sages have and that humans have strived to understand through millennia. Here are some excerpts from American spiritual teacher and author Adyashanti’s book: The End of Your World:
“We realize—often quite suddenly—that our sense of self, which has been formed and constructed out of our ideas, beliefs, and images, is not really who we are. It doesn’t define us; it has no centre.”
“What we call ego is simply the mechanism our mind uses to resist life as it is. In that way, ego isn’t a thing as much as it is a verb. It is the resistance to what is. It is the pushing away or pulling toward. This momentum, this grasping and rejecting, is what forms a sense of a self that is distinct, or separate, from the world around us.”
“The ego’s desire to find meaning in life is actually a substitute for the perception of being life itself. The search for meaning in life is a surrogate for the knowledge that we are life. Only someone who is disconnected from life itself will seek meaning. Only someone disconnected from life will look for purpose.”
If we are life; if life is us, and everything around us, then the answer to “who am I?” is simple.
I am life.