Who am I? It’s a common mantra in Buddhism meditation practice. It is something that could not possibly have an answer, yet the perfect question to repeat to yourself while you are looking for other answers in life.
In my journey of self-discovery (one that I’m very much STILL on), I have learned that I am damaged from a childhood trauma not properly navigated by my caregiver. One that left invisible scars, even to myself, until they began to fester and infect my entire life. So am I damaged? No. My ego is. Who am I? Who am I at my core? Underneath the scars and past my inner hurricane of misplaced emotions, who am I?
I learned that I felt empty, needing validation from outside sources in order to feel whole, loved, something. So am I nothing? I learned that I give too much of myself; I trust too easily; I love too fast. I get hurt deeply, and let it linger for far too long. So am I anger? Am I love? Am I trust? Am I hope? Am I sadness?
What I discovered while sitting quietly by myself is that I am infinite. I can be all of these things, or I can choose to be more or choose to be nothing. I am choice. The power to choose your path — that’s pretty amazing. We all have it inside us. Choice. And the path is inside us as well, nowhere else. We are energy and force. We have the ability to transform a thought or choice, and eventually, our reality.
When I feel sad, I choose to cry, to let the hurt vibrate in my heart. When I feel loved, I choose to relish in it, to feel the joy illuminate my heart. The feelings I have, they’re a part of my ego, the superficial part of me. Who I am down to my core is choice. I am choice. I will give more power to who I am. I will allow who I am to overpower my ego. Like everything, it will take practice. But I choose right now to make a conscious effort.
I was told once that in order to find yourself or to reinvent yourself, find things you love to do. Do them every day. EVERY DAY. When you do something every day, it becomes a part of who you are. If you decide to write and you write every day, you are a writer. Regardless of the outcomes of your pieces, it defines you. If you practice the teachings of Buddhism every day, you become a Buddhist. If you run, you are a runner.
I choose me. Every day. I choose healing and loving myself. I choose finding my core essence. I choose filling my own cup so much that I can graciously give to others.
So someday when I ask myself, “Who am I?” I will wholeheartedly answer a simple word, but with infinite meaning: Me.