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Who and What We are

Updated on August 26, 2016

Who and What We are

As we grow up, we begin to be aware of the physical differences among the people around us. Some people are taller while some are shorter. Some people are male while some are female. Everyone looks and behaves in one’s own unique ways. In times, we come to understand we should not judge a person by outward appearances, by what a person is. But rather, we should form an opinion after knowing who the person is. Is the person kind and trustworthy to be a friend? Is the person an extrovert, talkative and having trouble to keep a secret? Does the person have a sense of humor and yet serious about one’s belief and work? We cannot change what we are but we can cultivate who we are. We can disguise what we are and pretend to be who we are not. In time, we learn to live with what we are and come to term with who we are.


What we are is what we appear to be and there is no two persons in the world appear to be exactly the same. This is all credited with the way we are conceived before we are born. It is Nature’s intention to ensure its subject as a whole to have a better chance of survival in changing and harsh environmental conditions. Who we are is no difference except that it involves a lot of growing up to learn what our physical and mental capabilities are. What we are may hinder us to do what we desire. But, who we are will overcome the obstacles to accomplish the missions. What we are may give the other people the wrong impression as to who we are. What we are may be different from one another. But, who we are is always able to seek common ground to establish rapport.


When we are a baby, there is no difference between what we are and who we are. All that we are interested in is to be fed, to be taken care of, and to grow up. As we are at the grade school age, what we are and who we are start to play important roles. Socially and unconsciously, we all remember the small circles of friends with common interests and hobbies sharing our lies and secrets. We are not yet aware of what we are and who we are. It is the desire for companionship to face and explore the new world that keeps the circle intact for years to come. The childhood friendship is the most memorable for its selfless, truthfulness, and innocence.


When we enter adolescence, we begin to be conscious of what other people think of what we are as we are trying to figure out who we are. We begin to take notice why we are treated differently from the others. The situation is especially obvious when it comes to the relationship between the opposite sexes. There are students who are popular and liked by almost everyone while there are loners who are avoided like a plague. A pleasing outward appearance is a prerequisite to open the door for a deeper acquaintance. It is also the first time we find out that what we are is going to play an important role in our life. What we are can open the door of opportunity with minimum efforts as well as can mine the path to success with unnecessary speed bumps. It is frustrating to realize that there is virtually nothing we can do about it. In the meantime, we are at the mercy of the physical urges and the mental pursuit of who we are.


When we enter adulthood, we will have keep the physical urges under control and find times to keep in touch with the mental urges to understand who we are. Are we trustworthy or irresponsible? Are we a person with good intention or guided by jealousy? Do we have what it takes to make a good living with honesty and integrity? Or, the only way we can survive is to take advantage of the weak and to circumvent the law of the land. In the meantime, we learn to remind ourselves not to judge a person for what the person is. Only through close and prolong social interaction and observation, we can truly understand who the person is. The relationship between the husband and wife is a good example. The matrimony is usually the result of a relative short acquaintance. As the marriage wears on and the physical attraction wears thin, each partner’s unique personality, hobbies, ways to face and solve life’s problems, etc. can become contentious issues if the partners do not have the wisdom of tolerance and compassion.


Our destiny is determined not only by who we are but also by what we are. They are inseparable as we attempt to face and solve life’s problems. The model relies on the outward features to make a good living. The scientist needs the concise thinking process to solve the mysteries of Nature. The athlete makes best use of the physical prowess to compete in the professional sport. The thief, musician, painter, mountaineer are all doing what they are good at. The colors of the skin, eyes, and hair, the traits of sex, height, and the finger prints are all un-alterable and determined at the time of our birth. The capacity for tolerance, hate, compassion, and violence, the tendency to do good and for evil act, to be honest and to beat around the truth, the ability to invent, destroy, articulate, and think deep thought are all factors that define who we are. Just like our outward appearance, the driving force behind these factors is un-alterable. But, the environment plays an important role in how they are expressed. Their effects can be enhanced, suppressed, or re-directed. We are stuck with what we are. Who we are can be changes in a small way. This possibility allows us to dream the impossible dreams, to attain the unreachable goals, and to overcome the seemly unsolvable problems.


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