Let Go Of The Categorical

"That's just not me", "I would never do something like that", "I won't let anyone change who I am"...have you ever heard these things? I have. They sound awfully silly to me. I'm not here to preach or say that I know something someone else may not, but to me, to be classifying yourself in such a bold way is not doing yourself justice.

"I want to understand who I am"... now that is a phrase we can all share an interest in. I think the first thing that needs to be done in tackling this mystery is to first understand what "I" am. I am a human being. First and foremost I think of how versatile the human species is. We adapt quite quickly to our surroundings when push comes to shove. Just look all around the world! How many different types of personalities are there in the world? How many different kinds of culture are there to be known? Surely to be human is to be born to a family, to a community, to a nation, to a government... these things are circumstantial. What is not circumstantial is how one copes with the surroundings. Look in your own community. How many people have a similar upbringing as you? Now think of how differently they may have turned out! Even look at your siblings if you have any. Chances are, your siblings are vastly different from you in many ways. This is the versatility of the species I am talking about. We all have different ways of coping.

Secondly, human beings are a social creature. We want to talk. We want to communicate. We want to connect. In other words, we want to shape things. In turn, we ourselves are shaped by others. Think of something that characterizes you. For me, a character trait I have is compassion. Now think of how you've learned to value this trait, or why you keep it. I've developed and kept this trait alive because of my mother. She's always told me about the grievances of the world and how awful it can get with wars and famine and poverty and abuse. This is why this part of me is alive today. But that's not to say I can't feel rage and bitterness. It is completely within my range of potential to hate and to be cruel, even if I value compassion more.

What I mean to say is that we should not categorize ourselves to one or a few things. We are humans. We are made to feel a spectrum of things. We are made to a feel a spectrum of things because these feelings are necessary for us to cope with the circumstantial, which is life. If I was solely a compassionate person and was UNABLE to feel anything but compassion, how am I to protect myself or someone else from tyrants if I ever needed to? What if someone's life was on the line and I was left with a decision of attacking someone to save another, or doing nothing at all? Could a solely compassionate person defend themselves or another?

We are not guaranteed anything in life. We can only cope with the pain, pleasures and experiences that life throws at us. But it is also within our realm of decision to choose what we should learn, how we should develop, how we should shape others and ourselves. We can be guaranteed of our decisions.
empathicresonance empathicresonance
22-25, F
2 Responses Jul 19, 2010

I absolutely agree. Sometimes circumstances DO speak MUCH louder than decisions. That is the tragedy of life. In no way am I insinuating that circumstances can all be coped with. Sometimes things happen in life that really hits hard and we may never move past them. But I am inclined to believe that there is resolution somewhere out there. We are the circumstances for others as well. Sometimes, and I mean "sometimes", to begin healing ourselves, we have to guide someone else out of the pain. But again, you're right, some of us may never heal. We can only cope.

sometimes circumstances can become louder than your decisions. i suffer from ptsd and am still trying to understand who i am today. thanks for sharing your story.