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Self-Identity: The Need for Clarity

Most of the time, we are happy enough with our lives and with who we are. A crisis can, however, can cause us to question what life is all about.

Who am I, really? If fact, we all have an identity, which is usually based on a mixture of nationality, religion (or none), family values, and broader cultural values. Usually, out identity is taken on board gradually without any conscious effort on out part. That is why it can be difficult to answer the question: ‘ Who am I?’ Go ahead, take out a sheet of paper and try it!

Not easy, is it? The interesting thing about identity is that identity is constructed, that is, we make it up. Identity is not a cut and dried fact; it is essentially a choice and if you want to change some aspects of your current beliefs and values, then you can. As we journey across the lifespan, changes tend to occur anyway, because different stages of life have different goals and priorities attached.

You can, nonetheless, re-evaluate your life at any time and walk down a different road if you wish…..

Autobiography in 5 Verses

1) I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the footpath.

I fall in.

I am lost… I am hopeless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

2) I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the footpath.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I’m in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

3) I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the footpath

I see it is there.

I still fall in… it’s a habit.

My eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

4) I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the footpath.

I walk around it.

5) I walk down a different street.

Portia Nelson

From: Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dyin


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