Who Says?

Who says who you are?

Well frankly, technically, lots of people can name you, label you, try to define or identify you. We tend to do that to people whenever we speak… “This guy on the bus… My friend called the other day… Somebody said that… Everybody knows that… Diabetics have more…”

But the labels that really have the power to change our sense of self are those labels applied by family members and close friends – people we care about. Certainly the words or opinions of strangers can challenge our sense of worth or wound our feelings. But to really, deeply hurt us the label or judgement must come from someone we value – whose opinion we value.

And yes, we even rank some of those labels or definitions more highly than our own sense of identity. We too often let others shape our sense of identity. Who could possibly know us better than us? Why would we be willing to suppose for a moment that some other person could possibly have a more accurate view of who we are that we do? Isn’t that notion completely asinine?

Surely the views of others might have some value. Through their experiences they might have insight that can help us understand our experiences. But how can anyone but you truly know who you are? Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? And yet I think, to varying degrees, everyone allows ‘others’ to weigh in when it comes to deciding who they are. Curious, isn’t it?

Could it be that we are so hungry for validation, affirmation, or a sense of legitimacy that we will allow the unqualified opinions of others to become part of how we see ourselves? Curious, indeed – perhaps even perilous! Yes, we can surely be putting ourselves at risk when we allow ‘them’ to influence how worthy we believe we are. Who do they think they are?! Curious? Perhaps it ought make us furious!

And while I don’t feel the need to be angry about it, I have decided that I need to try to be less concerned with the views of others, especially when it comes to how I see and define myself. When we hear judgment or harsh criticism echoing in our hearts, may we consistently cast aside these unqualified voices and seek the true inner knowing voice that is worthy of our attention and consideration.

I am more resolved to the suggestion offered by Wil Darcangelo in the Meditation he shared recently – that I might continue in the desire to know myself better.

Only then can I fully accept myself.

Only then can I truly love myself.

Only then can I be of my greatest service to others.

Thank you for taking time to take good care of you. While I am not qualified to identify you, I am honored to serve such people, those who are brave and hopeful.


1 thought on “Who Says?”

  1. Excellent article!! I have been challenging such labeling for people who receive MentalHealth Services for over a decade. A person is not, let’s say, bipolar. A person may have bipolar but first they are a valuable human being. People are not a disease.

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