Who am I? Have you ever thought about that? Or perhaps, how did I become who I am?

How would you define self-identity? I believe our identity is defined by our individuality, our personality and our individual characteristics.

Defining ourselves personally can take a lifetime to say the least. If that’s not a big enough task, to complicate things further, as life goes on we change. There are also many other things to take into consideration as well such as our family of origin, education, personal life experiences, and yes, even our mistakes.

As we grow and mature through this journey of life, our purpose often changes as well. For example, many times when we meet new people they ask what we do. Somehow that description helps give them a picture of who we are. It helps them form an impression. However, how we see ourselves is usually quite different than how others see us.

I believe we need to tread lightly here so as to not confuse how others see us with our own self-identity. By this I’m referring to the situation many people experience when they spend most of their life trying to be all things to all people, and in the process lose track of their own sense of self. In a way they become so consumed with pleasing everyone else, they lose their own identity. Over time they forget who they once were, who they had hoped to become and the plans they once made to get there.

It’s very much a reality that our identity changes many times through the years — from childhood to the teen years, perhaps higher education or military life, then we develop more long-lasting romantic relationships, marriage, parenthood, as we go through the busy years of raising a family toward mid-life and then the empty nest starts preparing us to move forward to our senior years.

The outside influences which we identify with are endless — careers, families, personal relationships, education and more. All of these things reveal some aspect of our identity to an extent.

Who am I? In my own life I have been many things to, and for, many people. I have been a daughter, a sister, a student, a classmate, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter-in-law, a friend, a neighbor, a caretaker, a scrabble player, a flea market enthusiast, a columnist, an employee, a reader and many, many more. Some of these identities played a huge part in determining who I am today.

Who are you? Ponder it for a few minutes, and perhaps make a list of your own and you will most likely be quite surprised.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings, American author

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