Thought Catalog

The 7 Questions That Tell You Who You Are

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Many of the answers we’re seeking are answers we already have. We just don’t know how to access them. Understanding who you are isn’t something you stumble upon one day. It’s embedded within you; you just have to be vulnerable long enough to uncover it. Your everyday actions are shouting what you may not be conscious of.

1. What would you do with your life if you didn’t have to pay the bills? If money weren’t an issue, what would you do with your days? Would you write? Read? Sing? Whatever it is, you have to do that thing. Money is an interesting phenomenon that completely controls our everyday lives without having any purpose other than sustainability in the form of purchasing from others what we could produce and create right in our own backyards. Consider that when you’re deciding between a soulless job that will make you rich versus a life that will feed your passions.

2. What cuts you the deepest? So much is defined by what we’re most affected by. Really, what do you not even want to think about right now because it brings you so much emotion? Let those things in, and sit with them. Consider them. Integrate them in your life. We call this acceptance. It doesn’t mean you have to like it, it just means it is something that moves you very deeply for some reason, so you shouldn’t ignore it. Figure out what that reason is.

3. If you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today? I’d write. I’d sit outside, go for a walk or hike, and write. I’d write letters to my family. I’d probably write articles or ideas for articles. I try (and usually do) those things every day regardless. Not because I have to, or because a writing career is what’s going to best pay off my student loans. But because it’s what I want to do most. It’s who I really am.

4. Who do you love and why do you love them? The first people that come to mind are very much a part of who you are. But what’s even more important is why you love these people. Where is your love and what is it based on?

5. What do you quote? I’m always interested by what people quote, especially on social media, because really, they’re not bringing your attention to something that someone wise said as much as they are trying to tell you something about themselves. Look at what you want to perpetuate to other people, when you yourself can’t find the words. What strikes you most is who you are.

6. In those rare but life-changing moments, how do you act? When you’re at the end of your rope and you have to make a decision, which way do you choose? Notice the patterns in the paths you choose to take. Notice how you help others when they ask for it. Notice more how you help when they don’t. Your instinctive, intuitive reactions do say something about you. I know some would argue that instincts are just by-products of technically being animals, but our instincts are also formed by the thoughts that we craft in our minds.

7. What do you think about most? It’s the little things that add up and create who you are, and if you really want to see where you’re at, write down the things you think about most. They are where you are most invested. They are where you are most curious, interested, perplexed, pained and inspired. These are the things and people who most tell you who you are, because they are the things and people who have remained with you, even if they’re not physically there anymore. TC mark

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