Who We Think We Are

reflectionIt seems to me that we are all two people – who we think we are and who we really are.

Who we think we are is based on a lot of things. It’s based on how other people have seen us, and how we’ve been treated in the past. It’s based on who we’d like to be versus who we’re afraid we’re becoming. It’s based on our parents and our history and all of the millions of different experiences we’ve had from the instant we burst from the womb.

In other words, who we think we are is very much based on the story we tell ourselves about ourselves.

The person we think we are might be far removed from who we really are. So much of our story is based on perception – our own or that of others. This can be a problem because, although you may not believe me, no human being sees with absolute clarity.

Then there’s the fact that our perception is fluid.  How we see something or someone can change based on what we had for lunch or a dream we had the night before.

In other words, perception is subjective. If you’ve ever been forced to sit through a company-wide meeting, you know what I mean.  You may watch the presentations and not even recognize the organization being discussed, even though you work there.  Different people see things differently.

But here’s the thing. Perception is not who you really are. Who you really are is under all of that mud, the rock at the bottom of the river.

To get down to the bedrock of ourselves, we have to recognize that who we think we are might, in fact, not be true. What we see when we look at ourselves might just be muddy, fluid, subjective perception. It might be that when we pull back the layers, we will see someone quite different than who we thought we’d find.  It might be that we’ll discover we’ve been telling ourselves a lie.

And if that is what we find, my friends, then we need to rewrite our story.

After all, nothing is chiseled in stone.  Perceptions can change.

Even our own. 




  1. Well said. In fact, you gave me another great question to ask my characters in fiction exercises: “Who (or what?) are you afraid of becoming?”


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