Who are you? I frequently ask my kids this question whenever they are facing an ethical dilemma. You might wonder why I ask this question. The answer is simple. Who you are will determine what you will do. So, it is important to know the answer to this question. Let’s unpack what this means vs what it does not mean.
The question ‘who are you?’ does not refer to your name. Nor does it refer to your physical appearance or any other such external feature. It is not about your profession or vocation nor does it relate to your marital or parental status. Also, it has nothing to do with your race, ethnicity or gender. It is unrelated to age or educational achievements. It definitely has nothing to do with your financial status or level of fame or popularity.
Instead, ‘who are you?’ refers to who you are on the inside – at your core. To answer that question, you must first answer these questions:
- What are your values? – Cambridge dictionary defines values as “the principles that help you to decide what is right and wrong, and how to act in various situations.” What are your principles? What do you stand for?
- What do you want to be known for? – When you leave a place (or this Earth), how do you want to be remembered?
- What is important to you?
- What excites you?
Have you ever given these questions any thought? If you have, are your choices a reflection of the answers to those questions? If not, then maybe you need to make some changes because you are not being true to who you are. The answers to these questions will inform your decisions. When faced with peer pressure, it is these answers that will give you the courage to withstand the pressure and to do the right thing.
Let your conscience guide you. It is a gift. It was given to you to keep you from making decisions that you may regret later or that may cause you harm. The next time you must make a decision that causes you internal conflict, stop, take a minute to ask yourself ‘who are you?’ Remind yourself of who you are and know that once you do that you will make a decision that you will be at peace with.