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leopardgecko123's avatar

What does it mean to know who I am?

Asked by leopardgecko123 (777points) June 22nd, 2011

In movies whenever people are describing who they are it’s always “My name’s Jimmy. I like pizza and hate salad. I work at a chocolate shop and drive a truck. I am married to Laura. I live in a small house in a huge neighborhood in Seattle. I don’t like winter because it makes my fingers cold and I don’t like summer because it’s too hot to do anything. My favorite color’s red.” Something like that. Is really, really knowing who you are just knowing your like/dislikes, favorite things, address, family, etc. etc. etc. things you can tell other people easily? Or is it something deeper? And how do you know who you are in Christ? This has been bugging me a whole lot lately and was wondering if any of you could help.

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29 Answers

Mariah's avatar

“Is really, really knowing who you are just knowing your…?”

The short answer is no (in my opinion).
You really know someone when you can understand their world view, the ways in which they think and why, what their passions are, and much more. Basic facts can hint at these things, but don’t provide a full picture.

I’m not sure what you mean about knowing you are in Christ, and I wouldn’t know how to answer it if I did, so I’ll leave that part to someone else. Hope I helped at all :)

CaptainHarley's avatar

To me it always meant knowing your capabilities, what you could and could not do, how far you could push yourself, whether you could adapt and overcome, and to what degree.

ETpro's avatar

If you don’t already know the answer to that question, Grasshopper, nobody else can answer it for you. Keep asking yourself till you give yourself the answer. And then you will know yourself.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Who you are and knowing who that is, goes to your character, ethics, your reasoning and wisdom, and even your logic. Those are the factors that make up who you really are, not just who are you.

WasCy's avatar

I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam. I’m… I’m… dammit, now I’ve forgotten the rest of the song.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I’ve heard it said, that You are, who you think that your friends think that you think that they think you are. Not sure I buy that.

ETpro's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies You seem to be paraphrasing my answer. If you are, may I point out that I know you believe that you understood what you think I wrote, but I am not sure you realize that what you read is not what I meant.

Carol's avatar

At 67, I know most of who I am (as opposed to what I like) and it took a very long time and a huge amount of honesty to work on the job. Trust me, Christ had absolutely nothing to do with it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’ve heard it said that the first half of one’s life is spent getting to know the world. The second half is getting to know yourself. Personally, I think its a good idea to start the journey of knowing yourself well before the second half begins.

Coloma's avatar depends, it can mean knowing yourself, psychologically, as in, knowing your likes, dislikes, preferences, quirks, moods, buttons, hang ups and their origin.

All of this involves thought and self awareness practice.

OR… It can mean ‘knowing yourself’ as not your mind, thoughts, body, but as pure consciousness, beyond thought, beyond mind, beyond your physical being and your egos preferences, desires.

The first is where most people stop, the second is, well, the advancement beyond the first. haha

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@ETpro Not sure I understand your comment. Your link takes me back to this page. Honestly I was basing my comment on something that I really heard from a Pastors Sermon on BOT Radio a few years ago. I swear I asked a question on this a long time ago but for the life of me I cannot find it anywhere on flut.

Though it would not be unlike me to quote or paraphrase you, I cannot fathom what you mean in this particular situation. My apologies if I’ve misrepresented you in any way.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Look at it this way:

There’s some entity called “you”, which is followed by “am ______”.

That’s 2 seperate things.
(You and whatever you describe your Self to be.)

Seems reasonable that this You will remain You regardless of the description.

It also seems reasonable that this You will remain You if you assign it no description at all.

Another way to look at it is “knowing” implies “experience”.
Hearing my description of an apple’s taste doesn’t communicate anything to you.
You must actually taste the apple to understand it’s flavor.

So “knowing who you are” has nothing to do with any thought process.
It’s about surrendering what you think you are
and experiencing who you are.

Then you know.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Christ has been quoted as saying,

“You call me Lord, but you don’t do the things I say do”.

One of the things He said do was surrender everything.
That seems to include all attachments…including thoughts about how you think you (and everything/everyone around you) should be.

Especially since are this thought energy deludes you into believing you are what you are not.

Through surrendering illusion, you surrender in Christ.
You experience what He experiences.
You become One with Him.

SABOTEUR's avatar

On a lighter note, you might be interested in something that’s helped me immensely over the years.

This short video is based on a book called “Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way” by Rick Carson.

Perhaps you’ll find it interesting enough to read the book. If not, I hope you enjoy the video.

Hibernate's avatar

After @SABOTEUR replies I cannot add anything more.

thorninmud's avatar

Who you are seems obvious until you really try to put your finger on it.

Buddhists talk about “small self” and “True self”. Small self is our conventional idea of “me” as an distinct person, separate from others. This is the auto-biography we’re constantly writing in our heads about our history, our likes and dislikes, our strengths and weaknesses, our desires and hopes, opinions and values, etc. Most people’s view of who they are stops with this small self.

But if you tackle this question of who you really are head on, relentlessly probing it for a very long time, all of that seems less and less important. It’s all just too…well, small to contain who you are. You find that you have to keep pushing back the boundaries that enclose you; eventually, you’re surprised to find that “you” includes what you used to think of as “not you”. Keep pushing and the boundaries enclosing “you” drop away altogether. Then there’s nowhere and no thing that you’re not.

At that point, it’s no longer meaningful to talk about who you are. That old, “small self” is forgotten. Buddhists call this realization “no-self” or “True self”. I suppose that a Christian might see it as “knowing who you are in Christ”.

A Zen master named Dogen described the process this way: “To study the Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be awakened by the myriad things.” That last bit describes the moment when the barriers of self drop away and let the self flood out into the world. In fact, though, that’s where it’s always been. Dogen also said, “You think your mind is thoughts and memories and opinions. But actually your mind is rivers and mountains, grasses and tiles”.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@thorninmud Damn…wish I had said that…WELL SAID!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Who is the you that “wish” they’d said that? @SABOTEUR

SABOTEUR's avatar

Who knows? It seems to be thirsty.

Coloma's avatar

‘Who’ is typing? lol

Aaah, the ‘mind’ boggling study of non-duality Meh, “I” am going out into the sunshine now. ;-)

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

So the “who” is physical – capable of thirst?

So the “I” is physical – desiring sunshine?

SABOTEUR's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies The light is bright. The days grow long.

Coloma's avatar

“I” spent several years studying the Adviata Vedanta, some serious recognition, then, a return to ego Fuck..the mind is a terrible thing , period! hahaha

SABOTEUR's avatar

@Coloma Hense the origins of my frequently repeated motto,

“You can’t make sense out of nonsense.”

Coloma's avatar


Yes, but…inquiring minds want to know! lol

SABOTEUR's avatar

Clarification: I wasn’t referring to Adviata Vedanta…the nonsense I refer to is the endless mind chatter we entertain most of our lives. The mind chatter we mistakenly identify as “I” or “Me”.

Coloma's avatar


That’s why I like the occasional ‘Happy’ brownie, turns the mind off, and for my highly charged thinking, analytical, slightly ADD brain, it is a great thing! ;-)

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@SABOTEUR “You can’t make sense out of nonsense.”

Sure you can. That’s what being You-man is all about.

Every man made object in existence is an example of making sense out of nonsense.

The Universe, the epitome of entropic noise, static, is nonsensical. It has no mind, therefor no sense.

Humans harness that static, first by initiating mouth movements, causing vibrations to create what we call sound waves. It is not senseless wind any longer. Existing molecules have been shanghied, purposely repositioned to create a symbolic representation of thought. There is now “sense” represented by the molecules.

The next step is to initiate a visual representation, with written language. Again, molecules are repositioned accordingly to create this thread, representing our thoughts. The molecules and photons on this page are not equal to our thoughts. They only represent our thoughts. We must acknowledge the duality in this phenomenon. The medium is not the message.

Upon authoring the written word, we construct codified plans which in turn represent our thoughts about skyscrapers, automobiles, computers… once again made possible by “making sense” out of “non-sense”, specifically instructing how to harness the pure static of the universe and re-purpose it into a physical form.

Every created object is an example of creating sense out of nonsense. Sense is made from nonsense with every word we utter.

In the beginning was the Word.

SABOTEUR's avatar


Works for me. Well said.

But…you know perfectly well what I meant as what you described is not what we normally associate with “nonsense”. It was excellently said, though, so you get a pass.

Don’t make this a habit.

Ron_C's avatar

You know, I’m over 60 and still don’t know myself the way other’s see me. I guess that if you came to the same conclusion as those around you, people would say that “you know yourself”.

In truth, you could examine all your motives for all your actions and possibly know how you really feel but in fact that isn’t knowing yourself at all. I think the “know yourself” it’s part of the psychobabble we all must endure. The best I or anyone can do is to conduct yourself so that your conscience remains clear. Damn what others think.

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