Facing the Darkness, Part I: Who are You?


Ask someone, “who are you?”
There are a number of typical responses:

  • Name
  • Profession
  • A list of skills or hobbies
  • Personal or professional history
  • A description that involves physical characteristics such as height, weight, and age
  • Likes and dislikes

If I were to ask one of my children, “Who are you?”, they would look at me like I was nuts. As their father, I’m supposed to know the usual answers to that question.
I still want to ask them the question, but I’m looking for different answers.

The common answers to that question don’t touch the essence of who a person is, and that’s what I’m looking for. I don’t ask, though. Like most of us, they wouldn’t be able to answer.

The answer I’m looking for is tied to questions like:

  • What are your goals and passions?
  • What unique contributions, what gifts can you give to the world?

The answers to these questions are far more difficult to find, and I think that most of us haven’t found the complete answers to those questions. That’s if we’re even looking.But we can only go on hiding from ourselves for so long.

Day after day, you pretend to know yourself, and you pretend to know everything worth knowing about who you are.

And then you have a moment when you’re looking in the mirror at that familiar face, and you ask “Who is that? That face is lying. It’s pretending to be all of me. Someone in the world takes a look at that face and thinks that they know me?” “That face is just the surface of who I am. It doesn’t begin to touch upon my hopes and dreams and doubts. It doesn’t seem to capture the vast, unexplored places in myself with all their hopes and all their darkness.”

I think that one of the reasons that I like to pretend to know who I am, is that I want to hide from the large, mysterious parts of myself, full of wonderful and frightening discoveries. Like an iceberg, those mysterious parts of me are far larger than the “me” that I can see and claim to know. It’s not comforting to admit that the most wonderful and most dangerous parts of yourself are lurking, just out of sight. And that maybe, you’ll see them one day, and maybe you won’t. So we often settle for the “me” that I know already, with the good and the bad that’s familiar.

Read Facing the Darkness, Part II: The Shadow



Facing the Darkness                     Next in Series >>
  1. Facing the Darkness, Part I: Who are You?
  2. Facing The Darkness, Part II: The Shadow
  3. Facing The Darkness, Part III: Seeing the World in Color

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