True Identity

Unless we base our sense of identity upon the truth of who we are, it is impossible to attain true happiness.” Brenda Shoshanna

When answering the question ‘who are you’, most of us describe ourselves by the things we do or our personal characteristics and features. I might say I am a mom, a runner, or a coach. I could also say I have brown hair, am a writer or a wife. We associate the things we love or do and the way we look with who we are. But, what happens if any one of those things goes away? Am I less me? Because so many of us associate our identity with things outside of ourselves, we feel lost if any of those things go away. We tie our happiness to the things that bring us comfort; the consistency of our looks and the roles we play. Yet, what we identify our identity with are merely manifestations of our true self. Even our personality is only an outward expression of who we really are. Our true identity, then, can be defined as our essence – that part of us that remains true no matter what our circumstances. It’s what we sometimes call our soul or our heart – the part that really knows everything that we need to be the best version of our ourselves. Our true identity cannot be shaken or lost, even when we no longer can see the outward expressions of who we believe ourselves to be. We’ve all seen circumstances where people seem to thrive despite enormous jolts to their lives – they defy the odds and find happiness even though their original life purpose has now gone. And it is not that they are unique or different from the rest of us; it is simply that they understand the truth of their own identity. They recognize that the unique imprint of their soul continues to flourish regardless of their circumstances. And the source of happiness is not found in all of those labels, but rather in our ability to connect and love ourselves at our core.

Weekly Path to Peace: Connect with your true identity.

  • How do you answer the question of who you are? Connect with and write out all of the different labels you give yourself and identify with. Include all of your features, personal characteristics, qualities, roles or other identifying traits.
  • For each label, ask yourself is this my true identity? Our true identity doesn’t waiver with our life circumstances. So as you explore your list, allow yourself to connect with who you are at your core even if you lost that very role or quality. Once you’ve discovered your true identity, keep that image in mind as your continued source of happiness at all times.