The Search for One's Self

By Christina Kim - March 12, 2015

“What shall we name our baby?”

The first signs of our existence are marked by the very question as plans are made to give us that first identity; our name.

A name could mean many things; hopes that our parents harbor for us and the many accomplishments they anticipate as we journey into the world.

From tiny feet and guided steps, to our very first word uttered, we are held and molded by beliefs and values from those closest to us; or rather, our parents, who are the first we learn of in our life.

That bundle of joy we were, with our cries and laughter filling the homes and our very first successes in calling out “Papa” and “Mama” out loud all shape the fact of our existences.
Education comes next, from the home to the school and the grand design of the society, are all there to inject perspectives of life and the values of the right and wrong as deemed appropriate to guide us on that rightful path.
We form impressions of the world through the people we meet, the eyes we stare at, and everything else that happens around us.
We hear of the wrongdoings and we sense when things are not going along in the right direction.
Development of our senses and motion are set in place and we start to unravel the strings attached to us slowly, one by one, at a time.

They say adolescence is where one searches for their identities; as questions on one’s characteristics, sexuality and behavior arise.
It is this transitional period where one struggles to break free from the dependency on the nest and to strive for independence that one wants to define who they really are, and who they truly want to be in the future.
It is the time when the big question “Who am I?” plagues these young and budding people on their way into adulthood, preparing themselves for more responsibilities as they grope for that inspiring breath of independence.

One’s identity is always a matter of importance, for it is who we truly are and not just some glamorous nickname or trendy hairstyle sported by the famous people which makes us who we are.
(That, is not even us to begin with, if we were to follow someone else’s style).

It is the very essence of our being; and the whole foundation that defines our existence and our purpose for being here.

The big question that is equally prevalent is, “Now, What is Identity?”

Identity, as defined by the common dictionary, is the fact of being who a person is or what a thing is; or the characteristics determining who or what a person or thing is.
Adjectives linked to the definition of identity; individuality, uniqueness, personality, selfhood, originality, distinction, and such are obvious indicators on the very core elements of what form one’s identity.

The keyword is self and uniqueness, which sets each individual apart from each other.

We were never meant to be the same; every one of us are not designed to be just carbon copies of each other.

No, we are not mass productions of toys or replicas.
We are each designed to be unique, and simply put, to be our very own selves.

 Maybe we may bump into people sharing our names, but the similarity halts with a full stop there.
Even identical twins sport distinctive characteristics from one another and they are still treated as separate individuals.

Our identities are ours to have, and also ours to define.

We have our very own aspirations, life journeys and directions, fueled by our self-interests and passions.
It is something we ought to be proud of; to strongly believe in to strive to create our very own self-images.

Many have also fallen along the lines of defining their own identities; or perhaps in their exasperation, given up on the definition or even searching for that very soul of who they truly are, and instead find themselves adjusting to skins they have taken from others.

Celebrities and famous personalities are respected by everyone, and serve as inspirational icons in their own accomplishments to further motivate others to pursue and establish their own successes.
Sadly, the icons were then replicated in their images where many look up to their every single move and speech, following in their styles, unknowingly.
The success in becoming “them” turns to be the labels of pride for those who follow, and even set in place their identities (or so they thought).

That is not who they are, try as they may.

Everyone is unique, and the personalities we see in their glory and fame have also their own stories to tell. 

They are just as human as each and every one of us; and have gone through struggles and joys to create their very own identities showcased to the entire world.
Their darkest moments and failures are not shown, but only the moments of glory and triumph which are put on display under glittering lights.

Had we known of their life stories, would we still think we are them?

There is no one who is all perfect in this world.
Yes, we can all strive to be perfectionists; but that is a streak to be practiced in moderation.
I am a perfectionist myself, but I am still realistic to know that I am not perfect either.

We all have our own stories; we make our own choices in life, we face distinct challenges in life and we go through our own heartaches and triumphs.
Each of us are defined by our experiences which in turn outline the qualities deemed important to us.
It is all a cause and effect chain; and no one has that similar path for each of our journey is truly unique.

Think of our identity as our very own brand.

We are our very own product, and we are free to explore our own potentials.

We have our talents and skills; some so deftly hidden that it may take years to surface but it is not non-existent.

Beliefs, confidence and pride should be held in place too; again in that right amount to create one’s positive outlook.

Believe in yourself, and search within that soul of who you truly are.

It is not a search that can be completed within a day; and can last a lifetime.

We learn new things about ourselves each and every day.
Experiences; bitter and sweet change our perceptions and outlooks in life.

We may stumble and fall, puzzled at our choices and despair at the consequences.

There are times we may never comprehend, and there are times we may even feel lost.
There are the times when we are at the top of the world; with all the things we have done right.
Then again, there are times when the exact same move may land us in a mud.

Struggles continue and the weather continue to change; alternating between storms and beautiful spring, just like the change of seasons throughout the year.

There is no constant, even in our very own thoughts and behaviors.
Sure, the very core of our identity remains the same, as in who we truly want to be.

Embrace the challenges and many surprises ahead, for these choices could determine whether we want to improve; to better of ourselves in the future, or to sink and fall into a same rut/routine to last a lifetime. Worse, we could even find ourselves moving in the detrimental direction, which should be avoided at all costs.

The choice is ours, and the search is also ours to continue.
No one can tell us who we are, only we can truly know who we are.

Listen to that voice in our heart, look at the world through our eyes, and feel that strength and power to be ourselves.

It is only us, who can search for ourselves…beyond that name given to us from the moment of our birth.

It is in all the things that we encounter, that we can truly find ourselves...


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