Do you ever wonder who ‘they’ are? More importantly, do you wonder who they say ‘you’ are? The topic of identity is one that can cover many areas. If someone defines their identity by their occupation or actions, they may go through many struggles when that occupation changes or they are no longer able to perform, or accomplish what they did in the past.
If I were to define what I do in my professional life, others may confuse that with who I am and think that is my identity. Perhaps they would think it strange if I said I am a musician. What picture would come to mind with that type of definition? I am an artist. Would they visualize a paint brush and canvas, drawing pencils and paper, and other art supplies scattered about as I wildly express my creative side? I am published author. Would the question arise, what kind of book did I write? Perhaps they heard I like to hang out at the local cafe and quietly sit in the corner writing on my laptop. I am a teacher and Adjunct Professor. Does that bring up a whole different picture, with new questions about what I teach. I teach a variety of subjects as well as Psychology. Oh, not only do I teach psychology, I am a mental health professional! The questions continue. Am I licensed? A list of examples could go on and on; there are so many things that we all can do. It is important to remember whatever our actions are does not explain the reality of who we are. To be reminded that we are human beings not human doings is important. What we accomplish does not determine our identity.
We all have different aspects of our unique and individual lives that continually paints a picture showing what we look like. As we gather more information the picture continues to develop and becomes more clear. Here is another example. To tell you I am a mother of five daughters, have five grandson’s with another on the way, and have two great grandsons, reveals I am an older woman who is blessed to have a family. I acknowledge that with so many different dynamics in my life they have an influence on how I view my own identity. If I were to ask my family members about my identity I am sure they would have a different perspective of who I am rather than the stranger passing by on the street. This principle applies to you all.
Even with all that information, which only scratches the surface, if someone were to ask, who is Brenda Ballantine, what would the answer be? Better yet, if someone were to ask who you are, what would the answer be? How does someone determine the correct response? How would they, whoever they are, know the answer? Data collection can show a person’s spending habits and insurance companies can show statistics about length of lives. Computers can track what people like to listen to or view on T.V. or the Internet. Given all that information, this only reveals our outward actions, likes and dislikes. So how do we know who we are, and what is our identity? Obviously, this subject is one that deserves much more attention and deep thought.