By Roland Watson

This is the final article in the series on self-knowledge.

Who are you?

In my discussion on behavioral form, I introduced the idea of personal identity. However, I only did this in general terms. The fourth and final exercise will enable you to explore and define your identity in far greater detail.

We need to begin with a basic question. Is identity ingrained, or is it created? Are you who you are born to be, based on your genetic makeup and parent's circumstances, or are you who you desire to be, who you make yourself become?

I believe the answer is some of both, the proportions of which are up to you. So, once again, who are you? To yourself, describe yourself: "I am ..." What would you say?

The complexity of identity

To understand your identity, you need to consider all of the characteristics of which it is composed. This is not a simple task.

To help you, I've prepared an identity checklist. As with the Are Your Brainwashed? quiz, it is given in the link directly under the link for this article. Please read it through, ask yourself the questions, and be honest with your answers.

About the checklist, there are a lot of questions. I'm sure that you can think of others as well. But, if you take the time to answer them, and not underestimating the difficulty of being objective about yourself, you should develop a better feel for who you are, in all of your complexity.

The sum of the parts?

Also, this is still not the entire picture. Are you the sum of your characteristics, or is there something else in your identity as well, something that transcends them?

The answer to this question is the latter, and the extra factor that is involved is the certainty of self that you - hopefully - have, and that you use when dealing with new and challenging situations: what tells you how to act.

In each such situation, you ask yourself what you should do - this usually occurs subconsciously, and your transcendent identity - your inner voice - gives you the answer: This is what I should do, because this is consistent with who I am.

This is your core. It is a fusion of all of your characteristics, a pulling together of all of the aspects of your nature, to create a unique sense of self.

Even more, this is where the most fundamental components of your identity, your ethics and morals, and your personal philosophy of life, assert themselves. It is hard to define them, but they are real, and when you are confronted with a situation that is an acid test of your character, they are what guide you.

People who do not know how to act in challenging circumstances have a confused sense of self and an inadequate personal philosophy. When they face such a test, they do not know who they are, and therefore how they should respond.

In the next series of articles, I will cover the subject of personal development. Now that you know who you are, it is time to answer the question: where do you want to go?

© Roland Watson 2013