The Journey to the Real You (Your Identity is Not a Label!)

Hello my name is Sawno and I am (striving to be) Myself.


- I am super passionate about computers and games.
- I act out of positivity and love.

- I am very caring of those I love.
- I am curious but stubborn.
- I have a strong sense of responsibility.
- I want to help you.
- I want to make people happy.
- I love to be goofy and make jokes.
- I want to provide advice and guide people in time of need, this is one of my biggest strengths, this is my purpose.
- I strive for harmonic individualism, the freedom of the individual.
- I am not easily mislead.

What I just described are many aspects that I have chosen to be(come), they do not always apply as I am not fully the person who I just described. For example I am still very much learning on good methods to help people and as you may have noticed I listed no negative traits which I of course still have. I wouldn't be able to defend that I always act out of positivity and love when I have been yelling at traffic today inside of my car (which obviously they could not hear).

The reason I just introduced myself like this is not because it is who I am, it is who I am striving to be. It is an example of what I will be encouraging you to do, so you can find your own identity. Every step I make that is not in line with what I listed should make me either correct who I am or correct who I want to become. Anything that others can be used as inspiration but should never define who I should become.

Labels and group thinking (are not a good idea)

For this chapter I am going to be using another description of myself based on the kind of terms I often see in society to set the example of the chapter.
- Male
- 23
- Straight
- White
- Middle class worker
- Right wing (Not really, but you only get to pick left and right with this one)
- Gamer
- Geek \ Nerd
- Dutch
- Does not follow traditional religion

There are a lot of articles out there that use these labels to indicate how I am likely to act, should be treated and even what advantages I might or should have based on these labels. In reality only some of these define me and barely any speak deeply about who I really am, what motivates me or who I am striving to become. These are merely observations on certain traits of which many I did not even choose to be. Only the ones that I made bold are ones that i have any direct control over. Everything else is a label that others would put on me through external factors that I was born with or that others form based on my views in life.

The problem here is that people are constantly judged based on these labels and because of all the advocacy to treat people differently based on their demographic label they might feel pressured or required to conform to a group. I especially observe this with a trend in labeling all the sexualities, people tend to be insecure about their own preferences so they seek a label to describe their specific preference and seek people who conform to the same label as a means of personal validation. I imagine that in their minds they feel validated when someone tells them that they also belong to this label and that it is totally a real and right thing to be. It then becomes a personal offense when someone does not address them by their label or doesn't want to acknowledge it because they have taken on that label as their identity. It is like saying that they don't believe in who they are! In reality we should not even care about who or why you are attracted to that person, it just defines your own preferences and defines who YOU are no matter what other people call you because of it.

The most important truth that you must take to heart even if its the only thing you remember from this take is that it doesn't matter what others label you as long as you are following who you want to be. That is because everyone is making up their own definitions, and in their definition you might even fit whatever label they put on you but none of this changes who you are. Because you should be trying to be yourself! So it's time to de-program yourself from the labels you have been given. It's time to embrace who you are! You do not need external validation, whatever version of yourself you are trying to become as long as your steps lead to becoming that version are the right ones no matter how much others are trying to bring you down. Feel validated every time you do something that your ideal self would have done, and correct either yourself or that image if you took a step that isn't in that direction.

The most important truth that you must take to heart even if its the only thing you remember from this take is that it doesn't matter what others label you as long as you are following who you want to be.

Finding out and becoming who you are

After this long introduction it's finally time for the main meat of the take, finding out who you are!

While you might expect a super complex method of how to do this it's surprisingly simple but for some it may take some time and patience especially if you are still young. As you may have observed from my introduction example this isn't about your role in society, and this doesn't have to be about anything materialistic. This is about who you are going to be from a personal perspective, you are going to define your character. What are about to follow are exercises that can aid you on this journey, if you rather not follow any and just like to philosophize about who you are you are free to do so. None of what is about to follow will be a dictation of who i think you should be, its all about finding out who you think you should be.

Exercise 1: What drives you in life?

A good step to finding out who you are is by looking what your motivations are in life or what you hope would happen in this world. For me the way my life ended up was a clear sign of how I wanted to be. I am constantly giving advice, I ended up on a computer helpdesk and strive for others to be happy. I am clearly motivated by joy and happiness and would like to help others be happy.

So if you could make one wish, what would you wish for? What aspect of you makes you want it so much? That aspect is clearly a very strong aspect of your personality.

For example if you wished for love, you might be very loving and would like to spread love in this world. If you wished for money, you might be more materialistic and you might be someone who strives to achieve the highest of goals. No answer is wrong, as long as it defines what makes you want it and lets you know what your motivations truly are.

This one is especially useful for finding out your lives purpose as the meaning of your own life can be whatever meaning you give it, and giving it the meaning based on what you have been doing or wanting to do most (for others) can be a useful trick.

Exercise 2: What personal aspects do you value in others?

This one seems very odd as I am now going to encourage you to look at others to find yourself.

In reality we are not really going to look at others, we are going to look at what you like in others. We are going to look at what you like people to be like and by extension what you would like yourself to be like.

For me the things I am looking for in a partner align with personality traits I strive to be, things like being loving, caring, friendly, uplifting, goofy and a good listener are all traits I value in others and they all align with who I strive to become for them. This step will be a mirror exercise where by describing the personality of your dream partner, you will be describing your dream self. This step may not work as well for people attracted to a partner opposite of themselves. These people should consider if these aspects are something they are missing in their own personality or if they should be looking at the opposite of these aspects instead. It's also entirely fine to leave the partner aspect out of this and go straight for the kind of personality you would like to have if that approach is easier for you.

Exercise 3: What do you stand up for? (Optional)

This one is to help you stay focused on the things that you value and should provide shielding from people taking you in a different direction. Don't focus this one on a specific demographic but instead focus it on aspects that you value and are not likely to change or which you do not want to change. This is also a subject which is going to be the most fluid in your life and that is totally ok! Its easiest for those active in (online) debates but can be done for everyone.

If you feel like you should not be someone who should stand up for something and you rather leave that to others thats a perfect conclusion to this exercise and you can proceed with the next one. For those that are fighters it is good to at least be aware of the values you are fighting for. Do you strive for harmony? Freedom? Equality? Nature Preservation? A religion? The lack of any of these? Or something else entirely? Then take a step back and analyze why you are striving for these things and what you hope to achieve.

From that moment on its good to be critical of what others are trying to recruit you for and evaluate if the outcome is what you where originally hoping for. For example many equality movements use discrimination as a solution to create a more equal work environment, where as a result people are threated less equal to create these statistics. If your answer was striving for equality you should be critical of the methods that are being suggested so they are indeed giving these people more equality instead of creating less equality for another group.

Exercise 4: What are your intentions? (Most important!)

This one is the most important of all Exercises as it is the means by which you can judge and forgive yourself if your actions are not aligning with what you hoped. It will protect you from manipulation and it will help you get trough a bad effect that any of your actions may have caused that you intended differently.

This one is super personal, and it is how i think you should judge other people as there intentions are the most defining. None of the answers you will think in this exercise are wrong as this more then any other exercise will define who you are but keep in mind certain intentions might be perceived as evil, wrong or immoral by others. So keep that in mind if you previously defined that you want to be striving for others rather then yourself.

For this Exercise ask yourself questions like:

- Am i good or evil? How good or evil do i want to become?

- What are my boundaries?

- What are my motivations? (This is why we did Exercise 1)

- How do i wish to threat others? (Partially what you answered in Exercise 2)

- If i had to choose between myself and someone else, who would i pick first? Would i do that under every condition?

- How consistent do i have to be in my intentions?

- What do i value most? (Also part of Exercise 1)

- How persistent should i be in keeping these intentions?

After this you should have created your own set of morals by which you can judge yourself and others. Ask yourself why people do things the same way you ask yourself why you want to do something. Judge them by your own standards and don't let others change these if you answered the last question as very persistent. This will more then anything else help you stay true to your true self. But most importantly judge based on intentions and not based on actions as intentions are the only thing people have direct control over.

The final step: Fill in the blanks and take it to heart

After you have done the previous 4 you should have a very good draft of who you should become.

But i am no wizard and i likely have not included everything after all you are an individual and you are diverse from others. In this final step you should think which of the things you have just learned about your self you wish to keep, which to toss and what is missing.

After this you should have found your true identity, the person you should become no matter what (Unless it is you who no longer agrees with this view in the future, you are allowed to change who you want to be as long as it is you who made that choice). Take it to heart, and take steps to become the real you if you aren't already that person. What you have just thought up is incredible and something to be proud off, and i wish you all the best in being who you just imagined!

My request to you (especially if you found this take of value)

If this take helped you define who you are, or helped you validate who you are. If it helped protect you against external judgement and labels or if you simply liked this philosophy of mine I would request you to do the following:

Spread the word and help others be themselves, stop putting others in a label and stop judging or threating people based on there label. When anyone discriminates against you based on your label it's likely they have been group thinking for quite a while, so instead of arguing with them help them do what this take helped you do and show them the importance of their own identity.

I wish you all the best, and thank you for reading!

Much love,

Sawno


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Most Helpful Girl

  • I really appreciate you for writing, what could have been a complicated guide, but instead is a simple yet brilliant idea.

    "Judge based on intentions and not based on actions."

    You cannot imagine how difficult a moment I'm having to process this statement. It is an incredibly tough thing to do. But something I will keep in my mind from next time. I'll try to remember these words when someone is behaving in a way I dislike. It will give me clarification.

    Thank you. :)

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    • Thanks bella, i have been a natural at this from a very young age to the point where i can't remember where i learnt it. For most people i heard that this is incredibly difficult since it goes against our nature of reacting to our impulses.

      This is made even harder when you have been judging based on peoples actions but the more you start doing it the more natural it should become.

      A good example is when i have an angry customer yelling at me on the phone, lets say he is also being incredibly offensive and comes across very strong. In moments like this this skill is very usefull as ill know he is mad because he is frustrated that he has been unable to do his work for a long time and my colleagues have not been able to fix it. His intentions towards me aren't bad he just got upset to the point where he is no longer himself. When i offer good service and manage to stay positive due to me not judging him based on his angryness i can generally calm him down.

      Thanks for willimg to try!

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    • Here is MHO as a thank you for trying to judge based on intentions.
      I must ask, how did it go?

    • Still is a tough going, to be honest. I do get mad initially (although I deal with it & don't tell the person I'm upset) but it has become easier letting go sooner. As I eventually come to an understanding that it was not their intended purpose.

      And thank you!! :D

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What Girls Said 1

  • Thanks, very inspiring read

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What Guys Said 5

  • Well done - A lot of thought went into that take

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    • Thanks for noticing! It is actually the conclusion to one of my many philosophy's on how the world works and what methods can be done to counteract and improve it :).

  • Thank You

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  • I'm just a short lived primate on an insignificant speck of a planet in a vast universe.

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  • I would be myself. But being myself in dating has gotten me no where.

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    • This take is mostly focus on the life stuff rather then just dating. If the person you want to become is very close to who you are now you should wait for a girl who fas for that, it will make you happier in the long run. If you aren't that person yet keep going as improving yourself can boost attraction.

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    • Where would she find you?

    • Work, school, sports, I really don't know.

  • well, i didn't need to read this, i don't know why i am here.

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