When we begin to identify ourselves, one of the first things we notice is how much we have changed. It is proof we are alive, mutable, malleable, mobile and growing. Are there still parts which are made of stone? How do you mold the ones which do not change without shattering the statue of identity?
It is always the same.
One of the first lines of identity is the name our parents assigned. They did it in the blind, having no concept what kind of person we would or could become. Most of them thought it sounded good. Some of them imbued the name with ideals of what they wanted their child to become. How much stock do you put in a name?
More Than One
Most of us have met someone in our travels with who we share a name. Whether you met someone whose spelling was a tad different or someone who had the same name verbatim, there was bond of similarity formed.
What of you who are juniors, trips or even from the family so proud to name one of each generation the same name? Does it make you any less individual? Are you trying to fill your predecessor’s shoes?
Leaning on History
We have all heard of the 10,000 baby names books which give us the etymology of names by country of origin, history of variations and famous people who have such names. How much stock do you put in your name?
If you know what your name means, do you try to live up to it or try to be the opposite? For many of us, it does not matter what our names are. We live our lives in absence of its influence.
Gave it the Boot
Some of us are so convinced our parents got it wrong, we change our names. We choose ones which better suit what we believe our personalities to be. Whether to avoid being associated with another by the same name or to make our names easier to remember, we assign a different one legally or as a nickname. Does it fundamentally change who we are?
Does what someone calls you make you react differently? In some cases, it truly does. When answering to Mrs. Fussmudget, a woman may be more stately or want to wiggle free of the constraints of being a Mrs. When called Junior, a man may be proud to carry his father’s name or wish he was considered merely on his own merit.
Counting the Calendar
To those who believe in astrology and numerology, the location, date and time of our birth influences who were are and who we become. While similar characteristics in people who are born around the same time can be attributed to environment, many find the similarity to those far removed from their place of birth to be uncanny.
How much stock do you place in the planets’ and moon’s influences on your life? Millions of people consult their horoscopes before making decisions, entering into contracts or even going outside for the day.
Do you actively try to fulfill the positive aspects of your horoscope while trying to negate the less appealing qualities? No one is complete devoid of negative qualities. Yes, the negative ones can be overshadowed or even eclipsed by good qualities. How hard we focus on the good is a large portion of our identity, especially as an optimist or pessimist.
Without doubt, genes influence who we are. They do not, however, rule all. The decisions we make to embrace or ignore our genetic instincts define who we truly are.
The best example of this is identical twins separated at birth. While carrying the exact same genetic code, they grow to be completely different people: forming and breaking relationships in different ways; pursuing education and occupation in opposite fields and developing moral and ethical tenets which vary widely.
What does it all mean?
All three examples are ways we limit ourselves. We believe we are defined by opinions other than our own. We hold ourselves to an ideal set in place by someone else. Often, we use it as a crutch on which to blame our shortcomings.
Breaking the Mold
The very first step to self-realization is hearing, understanding and heeding this principle:
There is no mold into which I need to fit.”
By first shedding the expectations the world places on us, we can begin to see who we really are. Start with the question every four-year-old uses until we are ready to burst: Why?
Asking yourself why you do certain things and why you feel certain ways will reveal whether you are doing and feeling on your own or in hopes to fill an expectation placed upon you.
Remember, the only shoes you need to fill are your own.
Do you place stock in your name, the zodiac or numerology? When was the last time you questioned yourself why? Why did you read this?
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© Red Dwyer 2012
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