I am passionate about you knowing who you really are. Why? The person who lives from his/her Core identity is one who has the most full and enjoyable life. I say full life, not a perfect life. You and I exist because we have a Creator who loves us and wants a relationship with us. He is invested in supplying our needs and giving to us joy and peace.
It is from this premise that I have observed God’s creation and learned that the answer to the question is not a difficult one. First do the following simple exercise to learn the answer for you alone.
Make a list of five positive adjectives that describe how you see yourself as a person from childhood into your adult years. These words describe your qualities, traits, and values that speak to how you have experienced life. These words do not describe your motives that led you to do the things you have done with your life. The words describe you in and of yourself and not who others thought you were. Identity defined in this way comes from your own heart, mind, and spirit. Take out a piece of paper and write down these five words. You may wish to look at a list for some ideas. if that is the case try the following link – Positive Personality Adjectives List
How Can Adjectives Answer the Question?
William James is identified as the father of American Psychology. His writings are still studied today, one hundred years later. He was a keen observer of human consciousness. What he noted was that humanity sought to define identity in three ways – by the physical, material nature of things, by its social relationships, and by the spiritual perspective that comes from within the human being’s soul or spirit.
The “Knower” and the “Known”
When you set aside all the philosophical language, James observed a simple yet profound idea about identity with two words knower and known. The knower is who I think I am based on what I know about who “I” am and how “I” have experienced my life. The known is who others see “me” as based on what they know about “me” from what they have observed.
As the knower you can state “I am.” Your real identity, or what I call Core identity, is expressed through your being, your very existence. This is the first way that we can observe the Creator’s image manifest in our human existence. When Moses first met Creator God and was given a greater purpose to his life, he asked, “Who are you?” The Creator’s response was “I Am Who I Am!” His name was encapsulated in four Hebrew alphabetic letters, YHWH, that in english we pronounce as “Jehovah.” The creator’s name asserts His being, His existence. Your Core identity is based on your existence and when you use your birth name you are making the statement,”I am who I am.”
When you share the adjectives with which you identify you are introducing yourself by means of your existence as the knower. The Creator introduced Himself to humanity with these adjectives: “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin…” This is the essence of the Creator’s Core being in His own words. (Exodus 34:6)
Now take the adjectives you selected and write out a statement that you can speak to others when they ask you who you are. The adjectives that you choose will describes your values, talents, and being as you know yourself throughout your life. Other people can only know you by how you act around them. What others know of you comes from what they saw you do which is not who you really are.
What Does Your Creator Say About Your Identity?
- “I made you in My image.”
- “I knew you by name.”
- “I watched you being formed from the moment of your conception.”
- “I loved you even when you hated Me.”
- “I sacrificed My son for you.”
- “I have plans for your welfare.”
- “I desire a relationship with you.”
- “I wish to provide for all your needs.”
Your Core Identity, Your Real Self
The five adjectives you wrote down are the beginning of knowing who you are. As you think about these, others will come to mind. Each adjective that resonates with who you know you have been and are up to this moment in your life speaks to your Creator’s design for you.
I will use my adjectives as an example for you. I, Lowell, am a compassionate person, Empathy for others makes me aware of others who are joyful or those who are suffering. I am supportive to one who is suffering seeking to share their burden in practical ways. I listen with my eyes to find how I may understand and support those who suffer. (I have a significant hearing loss.) I love to learn and explore to find answers to puzzling aspects of life, both for my life and others. This comes from my list of adjectives: compassionate, empathic, sensitive, supportive, observant, and seeking.
Next time we will we will discuss our relational identity and how it may complicate identity.