This I Believe

Julie - Cicero, New York
Entered on April 25, 2006

My Definition

I believe everyone should be able to define themselves.

I find it much easier to define other people.

“She’s a loving, sensitive woman with whom life has not been kind.”

“He’s a needy, perfectionist who wants everyone to like him.”

“He’s an egotistical, self-absorbed ass.”

I can come up with many descriptions of others. But myself?

I can be critical of myself.

I can pity myself.

I can stand up for myself if you dare degrade me.

But will any of that really define me?

What makes one person themselves?

Obviously, you have to discount the exterior. It’s not what you look like.

And similarly then, you have to discount any exceptional physical abilities or disabilities.

Your reactions to these external entities may be the beginning of a definition.

But certainly not the whole. Just like the attributes themselves, it’s just the skin.

But what’s at the core?

What makes my core, my basic substance, my humanity?

I actually find it much easier to be critical of myself than complimentary. Perhaps a bit of the definition lies there.

Insecure? Guilty?

Critical.

So what are my criticisms?

I’m needy. (Very human trait.)

I’m judgmental. (Sometimes helpful.)

Obviously, I can rationalize just about anything. Part of my creative self.

I am a creative person but feel guilty for wasting my talents. I lack ambition, drive, discipline.

Even my positives I can give a negative slant.

But perhaps it is not your qualities or your faults that help to make up that elusive definition. After all, I did not work to be creative. I do not strive to be critical. I do make attempts to go against my tendencies to procrastinate, make judgments. Those traits are just, again, part of the skin.

So, is it in the working, the striving, the fighting?

Maybe so.

Maybe, whatever part of you that you save to work, fight, or strive for the things that are truly important to you, that is the part of you that defines you.

This conclusion has me feeling a bit discomforted.

I am at a loss to think of what it is that I do hold most important.

It seems too easy to say my family, my friends. They are most important.

Because, while I feel it is true, somehow it seems, in discerning my definition, to be an insufficient answer. You should be able to define yourself without your family and friends.

If for some tragic and awful reason, I were to be suddenly without any of my family or friends, would I cease to be me?

I would certainly be an injured me. It is a thought I can only glance at briefly.

But I would still be there.

I believe I would eventually try to recapture the feelings of those lost relationships. That I would strive for new friends and a new family.

Maybe, it is in my very deep need for family and friends that my true definition lies.

Yes.

That’s who I am.