This is one of the questions which I find very hard to answer. A question I, too, have been asking myself. Who am I?

Few weeks ago, I got the chance to meet the former Rector Magnificus of UST, Fr. Rolando dela Rosa, OP, for a personal and spiritual consultation. One of those we have discussed is about personal identity.

He taught me an important lesson: I am an evolving person. Each of us, we are an evolving being. Who you are now, who I am now, is different from who you, or I, will be tomorrow. He made me laugh when he said “’Pag sinabi mong ‘eto na ako eh, tanggapin nyo ako’ isa lang ang ibig sabihin no’n: patay ka na. Kasi lahat tayo, we evolve, we change, we have a history at patay lang ang pwedeng magsabi na eto na ako.”

That statement was an eye-opener for me.

Most of the time, a lot of us blame it on to who we are or what we are for the things that we do now. I always hear people say “This is who I am, if they cannot accept me for it, so be it.” The truth there is that, yes, that is who they may be now but it should never be an excuse to do everything they want and blame it in their identity. What is worse is they want others to accept them when they can’t even accept themselves.

It is a very difficult thing to fully accept one’s self. Most of us would say we have accepted who we are; but accepting one’s self is different from living up to that acceptance. We should not just accept who we are but also who we can be, and who we are not.

In some of my own therapy sessions with my patients, I have asked them who they are, usually at the start of their therapy. A few sessions later, when I terminate the therapy, I ask them the same question. Most would tell me they still cannot answer that question. I would tell them that I don’t expect them to answer it because it is a long process. I simply ask them the question because for once, I want them to think of themselves, because most of the time, these people do not think of themselves. They think of their problems, their past, their issues, their family, their enemies, and what have they.

I have learned a lot, from Fr. dela Rosa, from my patients, from my colleagues, from my friends, from my mentors, from strangers, and from everyone and everything. Yet, I am still at the process of discovering who I am and who I can be. And as Lao Tsu once said “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”

Goodnight guys! Stay safe, stay sane.

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