empowerment Self-Reflection

Who Are You vs. What You Are

“When you don’t know ‘who’ you are, you will resort to ‘what’ you are for validation.”

Who are you? Take a moment and write the answer to that question before you read any further. Now, look over your answer and scratch out any accomplishments, labels, roles, and anything that has been obtained. How much of your answer is left? If you find that over half of your answer has been scratched out, then this article is for you.

When asked “who are you,” most people will misguidedly answer that question with what they do, what they have, and what they are. They will say something similar to, “My name is Sue, I’m a college graduate, a financial analyst, a wife, and a mother of three.” Sue just told me a lot of information, but I still have no clue “who” she is.

When you decline to take the time to define “who” you are, you will attribute the labels of “what” you are to that definition. Your job title is “what” you are. Your financial status is “what” you are. Your status as a college graduate is “what” you are. Even your role as a spouse, partner, child, and sibling are all “what” you are.  Although all of those things are great, not one of them defines or describes the “who”.

You are not anything that you’ve obtained. When you focus all of your efforts on obtaining things, it is a clear sign that you are piling up your accomplishments in attempts to accessorize and disguise the truth that underneath all of that is a person who has not realized the magnitude of who they are.

The descriptors that define “who” you are cannot be obtained from an external source or force. The things that define “who” you are rest in the depths of your soul, reside in the crevices of your heart, and linger in the midst of your mind. I encourage you to take the time to find out “who” you are.

Don’t spend another minute confusing “what” you are with “who” you are. As long as you fail to distinguish the difference between the two, you will believe that what you’ve obtained is responsible for the person that you are. You will hold the belief that without those things you are inadequate, are missing a piece of yourself, and you’ll never be satisfied with what you see staring back at you when you look in the mirror.

When you become clear on the distinction between “what” and “who” you are, you can lose “what” you are and still hold on to “who” you are. When you are clear on the distinction between “what” and “who” you are, you can be homeless on the side of the street and still be able to hold your head high and shout “Although I have nothing, I know that I AM still something.”

Who are you?

1 comment

  1. I went through this same analysis in 2012. I didn’t at the time know what that meant for me but as the years went by I now see what was transitioning out of me and what was being created within me—a connection with my creator-self but I didn’t know it then. I was connecting with me from within me and I was reducing my self-resistance. I am so glad I recorded it in my journal in 2012. What you just wrote is so very powerful and life-changing but hard to connect with unless you are experiencing it or have experienced it, but keep sharing


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